Lucid Motors Has Upped the Game with It’s Newest Electric Vehicle
The close observer of the automotive industry knows that most new cars are the furthest thing from new. Despite the fanfare with which the latest models are trotted out — distinguished from last season’s fashions by bigger grilles, slimmer headlights or ever more bulbous or angular bodywork — the truth is that from generation to generation, the degree of innovation beneath the skin tends to be incremental at best. But once in a great while something radical emerges, no mere iteration of yesterday, but an evolutionary leap propelled by a vision of tomorrow.
The all-electric Lucid Air Grand Touring is such a machine. Designed and engineered at Lucid Motors’ global headquarters in Northern California, assembled at North America’s first purpose-built EV factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, and available for test drives at Lucid’s newest U.S. showroom in The Village at Corte Madera, it charges faster and goes farther than any other production EV on the road, and it looks like nothing else on earth.
Head-on, the Air Grand Touring projects a certain robotic aura, calling to mind the visor of a Daft Punk helmet. Behind its sleek front fascia, an incredibly compact front-end module houses a pair of headlamps with nearly 9,000 micro lenses, long-range radar, local short-range stitch radar, 120-degree solid-state lidar, computer-controlled shutters that modulate the flow of air into a vortex induction cooling system, and an energy-absorbing bumper system.
In profile, the Air Grand Touring is deliciously sleek, and thanks to Jean-Charles Monnet — who before serving as Lucid Motors’ head of aerodynamics honed his skills at the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team — it’s the most aerodynamically efficient production car on the market. The overhangs (the parts of the car extending past the front and rear wheels) are remarkably short, the result being that while the Air Grand Touring is roughly the size of a BMW 5 Series or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it boasts the larger interior space of a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class and a class-leading 739 liters of luggage space.
When it came to creating an all-electric car as dynamic as it is luxurious, there was no one better suited to the task than Lucid Motors’ CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson. Before Lucid, Rawlinson was vice president of vehicle engineering at Tesla and chief engineer of the Model S; before that he served as chief engineer at Lotus and principal engineer at Jaguar.
Rawlinson oversaw Lucid’s in-house development of a series of proprietary systems, from an ultra-compact, ultra-efficient and extremely energy-dense electric motor to onboard charging, battery management and thermal systems, which together enable extraordinarily fast charging speeds (300 miles in less than 22 minutes), a phenomenal 516-mile range and supercar performance, while maximizing interior space.
There’s a moment of cognitive dissonance as you ease yourself in, for how do you reconcile the disparity between the outer and inner dimensions? But in no time you find yourself enchanted by a wonderfully bright and airy cabin whose gently curvilinear surfaces clad in Alcantara, Nappa leather, open-pore wood and alpaca wool textile are as pleasing to the touch as they are to the eye.
Inspired by midcentury modern aesthetics, with color schemes like Santa Cruz and Tahoe channeling the natural tones of the California coast and the Sierra Nevada, the effect is more architectural than automotive, more Neutra than Detroit. And yet there’s a steering wheel, and a supremely uncluttered dash whose toggles click deliciously, and deep in the footwell, there’s a pedal. When you press it to the floor, you are suddenly no longer here but somewhere else entirely. In an instant you know without question that the Lucid Air Grand Touring is something very different, something new.