Automobile

2022 Lucid Air First Drive Review: 520 Miles of Range Aimed at Tesla

“It’s not cost, it’s ability,” he explained. “It is sheerly an engineering challenge. Other OEMs look at what’s available from their suppliers and say, ‘Oh—there’s a 250-kW drive unit available from Bosch. For our next-generation car, let’s put 10 percent on top of that and ask for a 275-kW unit.’ Bosch can’t just triple what it’s currently doing! Everyone lives off of benchmarks, so they incrementally spec up their systems. We instead approached this by hiring the best scientists in fields like electromagnetic design, thermal design, and mechanical design and told them to do something from the ground up, which achieves something that others have not.”

It doesn’t take long to get into the weeds when you’re talking about EV powertrain design with an engineer, and most of the really substantive bits remain under proprietary lock and key. Ultimately, the upshot is that Lucid looked at the options that were already out there and decided that it could do it better on its own.

That decision undoubtedly sent the company down a more difficult path to production, but if you want to get noticed, you’ve got to make waves. Although my stint behind the wheel of the Air Dream Edition Range earlier that day was brief—we’re talking 10 minutes through the Arizona desert, so keep this in mind when reading impressions from other outlets that attended the same preview—it was enough to make me realize that Lucid is about to do just that.

2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition Range: By the Numbers

  • Base price (Dream Edition Range as tested): $77,400 ($169,000 not including destination charges)
  • Powertrain: 113-kWh battery | dual permanent magnet electric motors | 1-speed transmission | 924-volt electrical architecture | all-wheel drive
  • Horsepower: 933
  • Torque: 737 lb-ft
  • 0-60: 2.7 seconds (est.)
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Cargo volume: 7.1 cubic feet (front) | 16.1 cubic feet (rear)
  • Curb weight: TBA
  • Range: 520 miles on 19-inch wheels
  • EPA fuel economy: TBA
  • Quick take: With a genuinely luxurious execution and industry-leading powertrain tech, the Air Dream Edition Range has a strong opening volley. But the hefty price tag and generally conservative design approach could put Lucid in an uphill battle to convince premium EV buyers to turn away from the established players.

Drawing Up a New Playbook

In the flesh, the Air’s fit and finish look to be on par with typical luxury automaker standards. Panel gaps are fairly tight and consistent from end to end, there appear to be no glaring issues with the paint, and the bodywork is aligned properly. But that’s to be expected from a vehicle with a price tag deep into six-figure territory, isn’t it?


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