Lucid Air’s first drive shows strength and verve – TechCrunch


When driving Interstate 8 on Lucid Air, it wasn’t long before the conversation changed Spider charts. Spider diagrams give a quick insight into the interplay of various factors such as power, power, weight and aerodynamics.

For the engineer who sits in the passenger seat, spider diagrams are in the foreground.

Balancing the weight of battery packs with power and braking is a tricky science that, if tilted too far in one direction, will create total chaos for the consumer. Add in design restrictions, as well as state and government guidelines, and creating a successful brand new vehicle from scratch seems like an almost impossible task.

The Lucid Air, a luxury electric vehicle that costs between $ 77,400 and $ 169,000 depending on the variant, has some elaborate spider diagrams.

Though the Air didn’t knock it out of the park right away, the new Lucid Air offers a mix of enormous range, luxurious fit and finish, and thanks to a team of automotive veterans, advanced technology and that Spider-Graph sweet spot enough technology to satisfy even the most demanding customers.

The drive: rocket ship with a view

Credit: Kirsten Korosec

While waiting in line for a 13-minute stint behind the wheel of one of a dozen freshly rolled off the production line Lucid Air Dream R vehicles, I received a planogram booklet with the words “Lucid Quick Starter” on the front.

Think of it like a supermarket map that helps you figure out where the wipers are and how to adjust the steering wheel. After a three-hour tour of the battery and assembly plant in Casa Grande, Arizona, customers and journalists alike are racing, and it’s clear that what we’re about to test needs a bit of demystification.

The Lucid Air Dream R cars that we drive and drive in are full-size, five-seat sedans with an interior that can rival some midsize SUVs. Dream is the name Lucid gave to the first editions of the Air to roll off the assembly line. The Air is the first production vehicle from Lucid Motors and is available in two versions, Range (R) and Performance (or P). The main difference between the two is obvious by their names: the range gives you up to 520 EPA estimated miles, while the power offers 1,111 horsepower and comes back to 60 in less than 2.5 seconds.

There are almost no physical buttons in the cabin other than those used for some basic driver and passenger temperature and fan controls and audio controls, as well as a couple of small buttons on the steering wheel to control things like the ADAS system. Everything else is controlled from the main screen in the center console – a screen that Lucid has referred to as the “Pilot Panel”. It’s a large curved screen that can be tucked away in the dash to free up a small amount of storage space, and it serves as the central control system for the Lucid Air.

Lucid Motors EV

Credit: Kirsten Korosec

Get in and adjust your seat settings like any other luxury car with toggle switches on the seat, but that’s where the comparison to other gasoline-powered vehicles ends. Do you want to change the position of the steering wheel? As with a Tesla, there is no button, joystick, or lever on the pillar. You have to do this in the pilot panel. How about mirrors? A few more swipes and taps on the center screen and you’re there.

Once you’re in position, use the stick on the right side of the steering wheel to get going, and when you’ve hit the brake you’ll need to give the accelerator a small nudge to roll the 5,600-pound car forward . The turning radius is relatively large as this is a full size luxury sedan so it is safe to expect many owners to practice the art of three point turns in tight parking spaces.

In comfort mode, which Lucid calls Smooth, the accelerator pedal is not sensitive. In fact, it’s well balanced and feels, much like any ICE-powered vehicle out there today. The acceleration is linear, so you won’t suddenly start at breakneck speeds without consciously putting your foot into it. The Air R drives smoothly and comfortably on sun-burned, cracked and uneven roads – maybe even a little numb in smooth mode.

If you want to feel a little more connected, put the car in Swift mode via the pilot panel and the five-link suspension and semi-active dampers will change, as will the throttle and steering ratio. The ride stiffens a little, although you don’t have to worry about jostling your passengers. It’s not a sports car, but it’s no longer cuddly and soft. Esther Unti, the lead dynamics engineer who leads one of the two 13-minute drives we took, said if you drive the car in Swift or the even sportier Sprint mode that we weren’t allowed to try, you do it (for obvious reasons) losing about 10 miles of total range.

There are two regenerative braking modes that you can use in the Lucid Air: Standard and High. Press and hold the Swift mode button on the pilot panel and you can access the braking settings. In high mode, the Air drives like any electric vehicle in B mode or in braking mode. Take your foot off the gas and the car will slow down and send some power back into the 113 kWh battery. (This package is bigger than anything coming from Tesla, by the way.) Like most braking modes, modulating rather than jostling the occupants takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not overly aggressively tuned. In standard mode, the Lucid Air rolls like a heavy gasoline-powered vehicle.

In front of the driver is a massive, but somehow not overwhelming, 34-inch curved 5K screen that doubles as the cockpit. It’s surprisingly minimalist with its information. Use the buttons on the steering wheel to adjust the ADAS system that Lucid calls “DreamDrive” and the adaptive cruise control uses its 14 cameras, six radar sensors, one lidar and one ultrasonic sensor. From what I was able to say in the three minute highway stint I did with it, the ADAS system seems to be relatively well organized. You can choose Motorway Driving – which uses Lane Keeping Assist to keep you relatively centered in the lane, although the vehicle is a little deviating from the lines in wider lanes – or the standard cruise control, which turns off Lane Keeping Assist and only manages speed.

Although we couldn’t try any of the navigation systems because they were disabled, Lucid says you can enter a destination on the top cockpit screen to the right of the steering wheel and then swipe the map down into the pilots panel to view a large map.

The interior: the whole room

The Lucid Air is designed for space, and there’s a lot inside. There’s more than enough legroom in the back seat (more than 35 inches on the R version I rode in), and the huge double-pane infrared blocking glass roof makes it feel very lounge-like from the back seat . It’s like sitting in a convertible car without worrying about sunburn, ruining your new outfit, or losing your hat.

All of the glass makes the interior of the car boom a bit, even on relatively smooth stretches of road. Booming enough that I had to lean forward in two separate 13-minute loops to hear the conversation in the front seat.

clear inside

Credit: Kirsten Korosec

The interior is a balance between modern and minimalist. Muted colors as well as fabric and leather materials promote the same airy and open feeling, but there are a few things inside the Air that feel a little less than premium. On the one hand: the inside door handles. Lucid has rethought the typical train and placed it as a small plastic lever in the armrest that you can easily pull back to open. On both models, it felt light and a little rough on my fingertips – almost like a 3D printed part that had caved in afterwards.

The same applies to the steering wheel controls for the ADAS system. To control the system, a pair of silver buttons are used directly on the spokes of the wheel. Press once for motorway mode or press and hold only for cruise control. A small thumb wheel under the button that activates cruise control allows you to speed up or slow down when using cruise control or ADAS. This wheel lacks the edgy weight you’d expect from a luxury car, and it also feels like a lightweight, 3D-printed part.

All in all, these are tiny things that don’t detract from the overall luxurious and solid fit and finish of the Lucid Air. The body panels are tight and flush, with even gaps all around, and it gives a clear sense of what Lucid thinks the future of the luxury sedan will be.

The Air starts at $ 77,400 ($ 69,900 after federal tax credits but before the target fee) for the base model and can go up to $ 169,000 ($ 161,500 after tax credits) for the Air Dream Edition I drove . According to Lucid’s website, the Air Dream Edition is currently sold out and reservations are closed. Deliveries to customers will start at the beginning of October.


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