After completing the InsideEVs 70-mph highway range test in the Lucid Air Dream Edition last month, we plugged the car into a 150 kW Electrify America DC fast charger and recorded the entire 0 to 100% charging session.
We specifically choose a 150 kW station because we had previously recorded a 0 to 100% session on a more powerful 350 kW station. Now that we have complete recordings of the Air charging on both stations, we could compare the charging performance on both, and see how just how different the charging curve and time-to-miles-added are.
The Air's 900-volt architecture allows the vehicle to charge at extremely high rates, and in our 350 kW charging station test we saw the vehicle take in over 300 kW for a short period of time. Although it only reached 303 kW for a couple of minutes, it was the first time we've ever witnessed an EV charge at over 300 kW.
On the 150 kW charging station, as soon as we plugged in, the vehicle was immediately pulling in 173 kW and held it all the way up to 47% SOC. How was the Air able to take in more power than the station's rated 150 kW? That was possible because the Air's 900-v battery requires less amperage to reach 150 kW than a 400-v battery does.
If you look at the charging power graph above, you can see that the two curves meet and remain the same just after the point when the Air charging on the 150 kW station begins its ramp down. This indicates that the Air charging on the 350 kW unit wasn't thermal throttling at that point, it was following the normal, programmed charging curve. That speaks well of the Air's thermal management system.
But as we always say, the charging speed is all about how quickly the vehicle adds back miles of range, and there's no EV that can match the Lucid Air at that. Even while charging on the lower-powered station, the Air adds back range at an amazing pace and pumps back 300 miles of real-world driving in under 30 minutes.
|Miles Of Range Added
|150 kW Station
|350 kW Station
|100 miles (161 km)
|200 miles (322 km)
|300 miles (483 km)
|400 miles (644 km)
|500 miles (805 km)
The comparison demonstrates that there isn't really that much difference in charging time between the two units, and that's good news because there aren't nearly as many 350 kW charging stations available as there are 150 kW units. At most you'll be waiting another 6 minutes to achieve the same level of charge.
The one exception is if you plug in at a very low state of charge and only want to charge for 10 to 15 minutes. In that specific set of circumstances, the higher powered charger can add kWh back to the pack much faster, and give you considerably more driving range.
For instance, after 15 minutes of charging the 350 kW station had the air at 46% state of charge, which is good for 230 miles of driving based on our 70-mph range test. The 150 kW charger had the air at 32% SOC, which translates to 160 miles of range, which is 30% less.
However, the longer you charge, the narrower the gap gets, and if you're planning on a 30-minute pit stop during a long road trip there's really isn't a big difference. After a half-hour of charging, we added bach 310 miles of range on the 150 kW unit and 360 miles on the 350 kW charger, and the difference is only 14%.
One last thing to note. I spoke to lucid engineers while I was recording this session, and they gave me some exclusive information. They are planning an OTA software update later in 2022 that will improve the Air's charging curve, and allow the vehicle to hold a higher charging rate to a higher state of charge. We'll report on that once the update is released and will also repeat these charging tests to see how much of a difference it makes.
So check out the video and let us know your thoughts on Lucid Air charging. As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.