An EV-Lover’s Dream Come True
One thing that’s truly exciting about the emergence of electric vehicles is the new car makers that are arriving along with them, much like the dawn of the automobile when anyone with a decent design and some financial backing could get a car on the road. That brings us to California’s Lucid Motors and their eye-popping first effort, the Lucid Air.
You could say that this all-new 2022 Lucid Air dropped onto the automotive landscape out of thin air, but that wouldn’t exactly be true; as the atmosphere from which this luxury sedan has emerged is quite dense with technology and performance.
“Well thought out” was the first thing that came to mind when sliding behind the wheel. Rather than just plunk a big tablet on the dash and call it a day, the interior features a more traditional looking layout and even some actual controls, though many of them are touch sensitive. But, as techy as it is, it doesn’t feel overly so; as its 34-inch dash-top display blends in well, and the infotainment touchscreen is low-mounted in the center stack. But with items like the enormous windshield that blends into the roof, you can tell they spent a lot of time thinking of how to make the interior experience familiar but better.
Most things are well put together, though a few creaks and rattles do appear when you start driving it hard, and more adjustment to the steering wheel would be nice. The rear seat is not the easiest to access, but once you get settled, there is a crazy amount of space inside this 5-seater.
Lucid began their journey as a battery manufacturer, so you know their power packs are well-sorted and capable of delivering enough juice to power more than 1,000-horsepower and sub-3 0-60s; not to mention the longest range of any EV yet, 520-miles. Plus, chargers that put energy back in at a rate of more than 13-miles a minute. And it seems to do more with less, as this Dream’s battery, at 118-kWh is not significantly bigger than competitors. Our particular test vehicle is the Dream Edition Performance with the 21-inch wheels; which means dual-motor all-wheel-drive, 1,111-horsepower, and a bit less 451-miles of range.
Like many startups, key Lucid players are defectors from other more established automotive brands including a former Head of Design at Mazda. So, they’ve created a unique looking sedan big on style. Its smooth front, with tucked in headlights, is probably its least attractive angle, as it looks much more elegant from all others; and extremely aero-efficient without looking like it. It’s similar in size to Tesla’s Model S, but stands out a little more from the traditional sedan with a bustle-back style clamshell trunk lid.
Like most EVs in its lofty price range, it’s so smooth and so fast, the driving experience quickly becomes intoxicating; and that “just one time” you push the throttle full becomes a regular occurrence, and you forget all about saving range. We found regen braking to be very easy to get used to, but not as smooth as most when blended with the traditional friction brakes. On back roads, it gets through corners okay; but really, blasting to the next one as fast as possible is the real treat here.
Suspension tuning is an ongoing process even for well-established brands much less startups, so not all Dreams have the same exact ride; but driven aggressively through our handling course at Mason Dixon Dragway, the Dream lived up to its name. There’s well over 5,000-lbs. of weight to deal with, but it sure didn’t feel like it, as the Dream delivered plenty of grip and very little body roll. “Quite European” passed through our minds here.
But, as you can imagine, straight-line runs were the highlight of the track day, with consistent blasts to 60 in just 2.6-seconds and ¼-mile runs taking only 10.5-seconds at 133 miles-per-hour. All of that power and performance, and the Dream Edition still gets a good efficiency rating of 30.5-kWh/100 miles.
As mentioned, a limited-production luxury sedan with this much technology and performance naturally comes with a hefty price tag. The Air Dream Edition goes for $170,500. But, there’s better news on the way, as soon the base rear-wheel-drive Pure will arrive, starting at about half that, $88,900.
You could say the Tesla Model S was a look to the future, but the 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition does a better job of actually delivering it, with the longest range of any EV yet. America is still full of wide-open spaces; and in similar fashion, the dawn of EVs has opened the automotive landscape wider than it’s been in some time. Will the Arizona-built Lucid have staying power or will it eventually fall victim to its own Grand Canyon-sized hype? We think the odds are definitely in its favor!
Battery: 118 kWh
0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
1/4 Mile: 10.5 seconds at 133 mph
60-0 Braking: 105 feet (avg)
EV Range: 451 miles (Performance) 520 miles (Range)