Lucid Motors has been cleared by the state of California to allow them to begin road-testing of their first offering, the Lucid Air electric sedan. This marks another milestone for the company, as until now, they were limited to testing out their pre-production test vehicles on private property.
The company has been using Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, California as their primary testing facility for driving-related testing. But as of this week, they will be allowed to take it to the streets.
After a couple of years of delays, Lucid received the financing they needed, and the Air is scheduled to begin production in the 4th quarter of 2020. We're pleased to hear that Lucid isn't backing down from their initial claims of more than 400 miles of range (EPA-rated range, that is) and also the 900-volt battery system. In fact, we're now getting what appears to be official confirmation on it.
If Lucid delivers on the promise of a 400+ mile range EV, they may be the first manufacturer to crack the 400-mile mark. Elon Musk recently promised a 400-mile Model S, but gave no timeline as to when that will happen. Therefore, if Lucid does begin selling the Air before the end of this year, and Tesla doesn't update the Model S before then Lucid will indeed, be the first to 400.
We were actually reminded of those facts by a recent tweet from BloomberyNEF's Head of Energy Storage, James Frith when he tweeted:
Also, according to Electrek, Lucid's CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson, said that their vehicle is more efficient because of the 900-volt battery system:
“Tesla is a 400-volt. Porsche is introducing a 800-volt system. We are going with a over 900-volt system.”....."Tesla hasn’t cracked it. We can take it to a whole new level of range and efficiency.” - Lucid's CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson
So the 900-volt battery system looks to indeed be making it to the production Lucid Air. With all of the delays and financial issues Lucid had over the past few years, we weren't sure if they had decided to alter the battery system in an effort to speed up their engineering processes and reduce costs, that evidently didn't happen.
A 900-volt system will also allow Lucid to offer very high DC fast charging rates like Porsche did with the Taycan's 800-volt battery, as the Taycan can charge up to 270 kW. It's possible that the Air may be able to charge at over 300 kW. Some Electrify America stations can deliver up to 350 kW, so the power is there if the Air can take it.
The production version of the Air will be introduced at the New York Auto show and is expected to retain much of the concept's appearance and features. Lucid Motors is planning a press event in about a month and InsideEVs had already been invited, so we'll have more information on the electric startup soon. Let us know what questions you'd like answered when we visit their headquarters next month, and we'll try to get the answers.