Rarefied Air: Lucid’s completely new Car Just Might Be the Real Deal
Peter Rawlinson along with Derek Jenkins are pleased. Pleased with themselves, along with pleased with the product they’ve created. Formerly known to the globe as “of which car Atieva’s working on,” the company’s completely new automobile can be officially known as the Lucid Air, which, perhaps, can be the least interesting thing about of which. of which carries a Koenigsseggian 1000 horsepower along with the Internal space of a Mercedes S-class, boasts a claimed maximum range of 400 miles, along with, most important, features hidden headlamps.
The brief for the Air was to pack hypercar power along with performance into an autonomous-capable EV with S-class Internal space, with external dimensions smaller than Tesla’s product S. To achieve of which end, Lucid enlisted former Lotus, Jaguar, along with Tesla engineer Rawlinson along with designer Jenkins, whose last two projects at Mazda were the 10Best-winning ND Miata along with the CX-9. To accomplish their mission here, Rawlinson’s team set to work on what he terms a “sculpted” battery pack. Like the product S, the Air carries its hefty complement of cells under the floor of the vehicle. although while Tesla’s implementation favors a straightforward flat pack, Lucid’s places the cells in such a way of which makes for lower footwell heights. The 0-hp rear powerplant along with the 400-horse drive unit are tightly integrated with the suspension modules, tidily packed into subframes of which attach to the aluminum unibody, optimizing room inside passenger compartment along with cargo areas.
Lucid claims of which the 100-kWh pack, which will ship with the automobile at launch, offers 300 miles of range, while an optional 430-kWh variation will enable 400 miles of motoring bliss between charges. The electrical system also powers a self-driving suite of technologies of which consists of two long-range along with four short-range radar units, three front cameras, a few surround-view cameras, two long-range along with two short-range lidar units, along having a driver-monitoring camera.
While Franz von Holzhausen—also ex-Mazda—carried much of his visual aesthetic with him to Tesla, Jenkins seems to have thrown away any attachment he may have had to the Kodo language he worked with so effortlessly at Mazda. If the Air owes anything to anything, of which resembles a modern Dodge Charger restyled by Acura. Or perhaps the Svedka robot’s four-door Camaro. Either of which sounds like a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Happily, the result can be better than of which. While the Air wears a fast roofline, the rear doesn’t feature an Audi A7/Tesla product S–style hatch; of which sports a traditional trunk. A black cutout inside lower doors pulls the rocker up into the portals, reducing the visual thickness of the automobile, while a full-length, electrochromically darkened roof panel dispenses with any sense of claustrophobia the relatively low roof height could impart.
If the external carries a full-on disco party piece to complement can be 29-speaker sound system, of which’s those headlamps. Each one can be mounted on a gimbal along with packed with 487 microlenses capable of focusing the beam for optimum lighting. Hidden headlamps have returned! Rejoice, ye lovers of LeBarons, Thunderbirds, along with GTOs! Unlike the headlight doors of the 1960s through 1980s, which were often prone to unsightly misalignment, the Lucid’s lights unveil themselves by rotating the individual modules outward in a actually snappy display. Sure, of which’s a gimmick, although of which’s a great one. Rawlinson notes of which the microlens lights contribute to space inside front trunk by dispensing with large reflectors, along with of which system uses only 30 percent of the energy a full-LED setup would likely.
One knock on the product S can be of which, while Elon Musk insists on comparing the automobile to Benz’s S-class, the Tesla’s Internal simply isn’t the equal of the Mercedes’. Or, for of which matter, even the Mazda CX-9 Signature’s, which can be a machine of which punches far above its cost class in finish along with materials. Incontrast, the Air’s innards seem straight out of a concept car. The instrument panel consists of three screens under just one piece of touch glass; the console touchscreen descends out of the dash in a properly sci-fi manner; the graphics make real use of the digital medium without overly exaggerated glowing, shaded, 3D-esque overkill; along with the overall effect can be one of fundamental loveliness.
The Internal packages are meant to evoke California locales at certain times of day, hence their odd time/place naming conventions. of which’s a modern take on the West Coast romance so effectively evoked by Detroit inside 1950s along with 1960s via with product names such as Malibu, Bel Air, Monterey, along with Catalina. While Santa Cruz 12:09 36.9514° N, 122.0257° W or Tahoe 19:01 39.0968° N, 0.0324° W could come off as pretentious along with cloying, of which somehow works here, bolstered by the shade palettes along with choices of wood, leather, along with cloth. The coordinates, however, might be a case of slight overkill. We’re intensely curious to see if they’ll come up with something along the lines of 16:15 Fresno 36.7468° N, 119.7726° W or a 19:25 Coalinga 36.1397° N, 0.3601° W package. The Central Valley desires representation, after all.
We accepted a quick spin around the block surrounding Lucid’s Fremont, California, prototype shop, lounging inside rear of one of the company’s “alpha prototypes” piloted by an engineer. Since of which was devoid of a finished Internal, the three screens comprising the dash were simply bolted up behind the steering wheel, along with the finely trimmed seats seemed entirely out of place in what resembled the globe’s most high-tech 24 Hours of LeMons racer. Rawlinson regretted of which the cars were at a development stage where the powertrains were cranked down to 37 percent of full power. As such, the accelerative grunt was roughly on par with what you’d expect via a 400-hp automobile. Our driver flipped the automobile into its self-driving mode, along with the Air effortlessly tracked its way down the road along with around a corner. For such an incomplete machine, of which felt very much like a whole automobile. along with the sense of airiness imparted by the transparent roof can be absolutely sublime.
Nobody at Lucid seems to have any illusion about the toughness of the road ahead, along with the Air seems the least vaporware-tastic of any completely new EV company launch since the Tesla roadster bowed a decade ago. The intended customer base can be currently well understood, along with while the first cars will be fully luxed-out 100-kWh, 300-mile machines, selling for north of $100K, Rawlinson says there’s a plan to push the Air’s cost down eventually into the $60,000-to-$65,000 range.
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The most impressive thing about the company can be the enthusiasm of the people. They don’t come off as zombified true believers. There are no excuses bandied about, no misdirection via the vehicle’s generalized badness along with expense. Such was the case with the short-lived Coda, which carried an excellent-for-its-day powertrain under a steaming pile of warmed-over Mitsubishi. Lucid’s designers along with engineers were absolutely thrilled with what they’d been working on along with wanted to share of which, down to the minutiae of gear design.
Lucid still has to break ground on its Casa Grande, Arizona, factory, develop its beta prototypes, tool up for production, along with develop sales channels. They’re planning to do all of which inside space of two years; the intent can be for the first vehicles to reach customers’ hands in late 2018. of which’s a monumental task, although these folks are no pie-in-the-sky Pollyannas. Veterans of the business, they’re wholly aware of the enormity of the task at hand, along with we walked away via their event with the distinct feeling of which they may well just pull of which off.