ELON'S NIGHTMARE?
Motor Trend|December 2021
LUCID MOTORS’ ALL-ELECTRIC FIRST CAR IS ABSOLUTELY A THREAT TO TESLA AND OTHER LUXURY AUTOMAKERS
JONNY LIEBERMAN

The 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition R is a 966-hp electric luxury sedan that can drive 481–520 EPA-certified miles on a single charge. I witnessed and experienced the latter firsthand. The former? Not so much, but you’ll need to keep reading.

There’s also an Air Dream Edition P (P stands for Performance; R means Range) that makes 1,111 hp and offers a range of 451–471 miles. Now get this—they cost the same price. So, you choose: Do you want a sleek-looking EV with nearly 100 hp more than the Tesla Model S Plaid? Or do you want the car that makes more horsepower than any Lamborghini ever made, beats the Tesla Model S Long Range at its own game by more than 100 miles, and puts the very notion of range anxiety out to pasture? I won’t be much help answering that question, as I only drove the R. However, as the first person not on Lucid’s payroll to drive any Air, I discovered plenty to talk about.

Lucid’s CEO/CTO is a Welshman named Peter Rawlinson, who showed up to our drive wearing racing boots. He was previously Lotus's chief engineer as well as chief engineer for the Tesla Model S. Rawlinson’s ideal car rides like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and drives like a Lotus. He strongly feels the key to electric cars is the miniaturization of their parts. The original Tesla Model S P85 rear-drive unit weighs 295 pounds and produces about 416 horsepower, for a power density of 1.41 hp per pound. The Air uses the same motor (not the same as Tesla, to be clear) front and rear; each weighs 163 pounds yet can produce 670horsepower and spins at 20,000 rpm for a power density of 4.11 hp per pound. That’s nearly three times better. Also, unlike Tesla, Lucid bothered to put a proper interior in its car.

The Air looks good, specially kitted out in Eureka Gold. The stainless-steel look roof brings a little bit of DeLorean nostalgia to mind, and the overall effect is something like a Citroën DS redesigned for Blade Runner. Some folks have criticized the design for being too simplistic, but there’s purposeful futurism to the form, and it pops in person. Lucid initially offers the Air only in black, white, or gold; I’ve seen it in a deep oxblood burgundy, however, and that too looks fantastic. Maybe Lucid’s first-ever car doesn’t translate well into two dimensions, but in person, it is distinctive even if it’s not quite stunning.

The inside is another matter entirely. Wow. Whereas every Tesla since day one has seemingly shipped without a finished interior, Lucid not only crafted a perfectly wonderful luxury-car cabin, but it also smartly avoided the screens über alles aesthetic that plagues cars like the Mercedes-EQ EQS.

In terms of screens, Lucid did a nice job of splitting the difference between the Model S and the EQS, the other two big electric sedans are available now. The three screens don’t dominate the cabin the way their counterparts do in both the Tesla and Mercedes.

As for the rest, the 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition R comes filled with fantastic materials: wood, leather, metal, Alcantara, quality plastics, and even linen-like fabric. This isn’t just a great interior for an electric vehicle—it’s one of the nicest interiors in the car world. Also, there are physical controls for fan speed, temperature, volume, and the dome light. A favorite detail is the little Bear Republic emblems stitched onto the sides of the front seats. Subtle and brilliant.

Does the Air drive like a Lotus? Short answer: No. Slightly longer answer: The Dream Edition R reminds me of a Nissan GT-R, especially one of the NISMO GT-Rs. The car’s handling is a big surprise. You know a 966-hp car will be speedy, and I’d ridden around WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in an Air before, so I knew how quick it is and how lovely its cabin is. I even knew the company’s range claim was legit.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MOTOR TRENDView All
RELATED STORIES

TESLA OFFICIALLY MOVES HEADQUARTERS FROM CALIFORNIA TO TEXAS

Tesla says it has officially moved its corporate headquarters from Silicon Valley to a large factory under construction outside of Austin, Texas.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #527

Teaching Digital Currencies Not to Guzzle

Alternatives to “mining” augur power-sipping coins

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Rivian's Success Is a Tribute to Tesla

Why is a company with no sales worth $130 billion? Belief in EVs

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

EV EXPERTS COMPARES THE TESLA MODEL 3 AND VOLKSWAGEN ID.4

Introduced for 2021, the Volkswagen ID.4 is the German automaker’s first all-electric SUV and part of a new wave of electric vehicles for American consumers. It boasts a spacious interior and styling that’s futuristic but not too futuristic.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
November 12, 2021

After Twitter Poll, CEO Musk Sells Off $5b in Tesla Shares

After making a promise on Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sold about 4.5 million shares of the electric car maker’s stock, raising over $5 billion.

2 mins read
Techlife News
13, November 2021

TESLA SOFTWARE RECALL MAY HEAD OFF FIGHT WITH US REGULATORS

Tesla has issued a recall that automatically sent a software update fixing a safety problem in its electric vehicles, apparently heading offa looming confrontation with U.S. safety regulators.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #523

TESLA'S MARKET VALUE TOPS $1T AFTER HERTZ ORDERS 100K CARS

Hertz announced Monday that it will buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla, one of the largest purchases of battery-powered cars in history and thelatest evidence of the nation’s increasing commitment to EV technology.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
October 29, 2021

TESLA HITS RECORD PROFIT DESPITE PARTS SHORTAGE, SHIP DELAYS

Record electric vehicle sales last summer amid a shortage of computer chips and other materials propelled Tesla Inc. to the biggest quarterly net earnings in its history.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

Elon & Grime's BIZARRE BREAKUP

SAY WHAT?!

1 min read
Star
October 18, 2021

US REGULATORS SEEK ANSWERS FROM TESLA OVER LACK OF RECALL

U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators.

4 mins read
Techlife News
October 16, 2021