According to Autocar, the highly anticipated Lucid Air saloon will arrive in 2019. It will combine sports car handling while offering all of the comfort of a high-end luxury saloon car. The car's development is being headed up by Peter Rawlinson, who is the carmaker's chief technical officer and formerly of Tesla, Jaguar and Lotus.
Instead of targeting the Tesla Model S, Lucid’s marketing manager David Salguero confirmed the Air is taking aim directly at the luxury offerings from the likes of established carmaker's including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Salguero also stated that the BMW 750iL was used as a benchmark for the design of the Air’s cabin space despite it having smaller dimensions than the German luxo-barge.
The carmaker has achieved this by substantially shrinking the onboard EV powertrain with Salguero confirming “By miniaturising the EV powertrain, we can make [the Air] small on the outside but big on the inside,” he said. “It will have a large, comfortable, spacious interior, comparable [in size] to the S-Class long-wheelbase while being about the same size as an E-Class.”
Lucid is also furthering its technology and knowledge when it comes to the battery tech that will power the Air. This includes working with McLaren on the next generation Formula E setup that will enable the cars to run for twice as long. To speed up the development of these batteries the company has also teamed up with Samsung SDI.
As announced earlier this year, the Air will be packing a host of autonomous vehicle technology including a system comprising of an array of cameras, radar and lidar sensors. This system is a result of the carmaker's partnership with former Tesla supplier Mobileye, who specialise in autonomous vehicle technology. This setup will offer a limited amount of driver assistance at launch in 2019 with a series of over the air software updates enabling a full transition to an autonomous driving function over time.
In July 2017 the Air cracked 235mph during testing with a claimed 0-60mph time of just 2.5 seconds in top-spec 1,000hp twin-motor setup. This car was a stripped out bare-bones test mule with the software speed limiter removed enabling it to reach that very high top speed. The company will also produce a single motor entry-level car offering 250bhp and 240 miles of range. This model will be priced at $52,500 in North America which translates to around £40,000 in the UK.
If you think that the Lucid Air will be just cannon fodder, then think again. According to Salguero, the model is 95 percent complete and in the final stages of its development. The carmaker’s Arizona factory is currently under construction with the first cars slated to roll off the production line in 2019, when some 10,000 vehicles will be built. Lucid is not done there though. As the company intends to up production to 60,000 vehicles annually with the facility being capable of producing up to 130,000 vehicles a year to meet demand.
It’s also been confirmed that the Lucid Air will arrive in Europe at some point after its 2019 debut, including the UK. At the moment though us Europeans will have to wait as no firm release date has been established.