Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 9/19/2023
Peter Rawlinson, the CEO of Arizona’s Lucid Motors, claims that its new model Lucid Air can travel over 500 miles on a single charge. The claim, backed by an EPA estimated range of 516 miles, is about double the range of most currently available EVs and will quell range anxiety for potential EV buyers, according to Rawlinson.
Pricing for the Lucid Air starts at around $80,000, but the base model Air is not rated for the 500-mile figure and settles in at 400 miles, according to the EPA. Models rated for 500 miles have both a larger battery and a higher price tag, topping $120,000. The top-of-the-line Air model, priced over $200,000, is more about its top speed of 200 MPH and extra cup holders.
The print and web magazine Car & Driver has tested the Air and is impressed. To gauge real-world performance, they test for range over a highway route with average speeds of 75 MPH. This testing results in range estimates lower than the EPA ratings, and the Air is no exception. Their testing of the EPA 516-mile-rated Grand Touring model returned a range of 410 miles. Lest readers be disappointed, according to Car & Driver editors, that is the longest range of any EV they have tested.
ABC News interviewed Rawlinson about the new models and the future of EVs in general. “Most people still haven’t gotten behind the wheel of an electric car. They’re unaware that it’s actually a better, more pleasurable, more responsive, and more engaging driving experience…The feeling of the road, the feedback through the steering, the instantaneous torque—there is romance with an electric car,” Rawlinson told ABC.
Rawlinson acknowledged that so-called range anxiety has been a limiting factor in EVs’ success, but says that the new models’ 400–500-mile ranges assuage this concern. Moreover, according to Lucid, DC fast chargers can replenish 300 miles of range for these models in about 20 minutes.
At the same time, Rawlinson feels that there is too much emphasis placed on the importance of fast charging, which, he remarks, puts undue stress on electric grids. “Most Lucid customers charge overnight at home. It’s very rare for most people to drive more than 500 miles in a day. So 99 times out of 100 you can leave your home fully charged and never have to fast charge—which is worse for the environment, worse for the grid, it’s worse for your car battery. When we look at infrastructure, please let’s have more emphasis on AC overnight charging. That will certainly broaden the appeal for all those people in apartments who do not have access to garage spaces. Personally, I would prefer reliable, slower charging over less reliable, super-fast charging.”
All of that leaves the Lucid executive with one major concern: price. “The key obstacle to widespread adoption in the U.S. and worldwide is the entry price point of an electric car. I am profoundly aware that we need to push the price down so more people can afford electric cars. This is critically important.” The least expensive Lucid model is currently about $80,000, but Rawlinson says the company is targeting $50,000 models in the near future while acknowledging that “what the world needs is a $25,000 EV.”
But Rawlinson points to many factors that will bring costs down: “One is economy of scale of the battery itself, which is the most expensive part of an electric car. There is another factor that almost no one is talking about: vehicle efficiency. And that’s not battery efficiency—battery efficiency is a misnomer. There is almost no such thing as battery efficiency. The best analogy I can make is miles per gallon in a gasoline car. Mpg is not a function of the size of the gas tank. It’s a function of the efficiency of the vehicle’s gasoline engine.”
Rawlinson scoffs at the notion that all gasoline cars are bad, and all EVs are good. “There are inefficient electric cars. What we’re trying to do at Lucid is advance the technology to make the most efficient cars in the world. This is fundamentally important to mankind because we need to go further with less battery pack. If we can go further with a smaller battery, we can address the entry cost of an electric vehicle. Affordable electric cars will really accelerate the widespread adoption both here in the U.S. and internationally.”
Read more here:
- Car and Driver article: 2024 Lucid Air
- ABC News article: Lucid CEO has a plan to end Americans’ range anxiety