Lucid Motors Exec Talk About Electric Luxury Sedan Lucid Air: “Tesla Is Not A Direct Competitor”

Apr 28, 2017 05:00 AM EDT | Andrew Davis

Electric vehicles are the future as another company has joined the market, boasting 1000 horsepower and a top speed of 217 mph and a 400-mile range. Lucid Air, from "start-up" Lucid Motors, is an electric luxury sedan set to start the electric luxury sedan trend. 

Digital Trends sat down with two of the executives of Lucid Motors during the 2017 New York Auto Show and here is a digest of the history and vision the company has for their upcoming electric luxury sedan. But first things first, history.

CTO Peter Rawlinson previously worked for Tesla and was the chief engineer of the Model S, while Derek Jenkins used to be the Director of Design for Mazda North America. As for the company, despite being branded as a start-up company, Lucid Motors started back in 2007 with a world-class team after securing a series C funding. Its roots were basically supplying batteries for real-world use (Atieva), then to the electric powertrain, and finally to cars.

The Lucid Air is "revolutionary" compared with the Tesla Model S, as Rawlinson points out. Plus, he noted that Tesla, in fact, is not their direct competitor as they air targeting the luxury end of the market.

Thus, comparison-wise, the Lucid Air is smaller and lower compared with the Tesla Model S. But it has an interior of an S-Class Mercedes. Put into perspective, it's an E-Class Mercedes on the exterior while an S-Class in its interior. It turns out that when he pointed out "revolutionary," he meant space, a massive amount of space.

According to Jenkins, since they are repackaging the car, they are able to distribute the space throughout the vehicle, hence a shorter hood and a more drawn-out and longer cabin. Passengers will definitely have a sense of openness and airiness inside, thus Lucid Air.

When the EV goes into production in 2019, the Lucid Air will have Level 4 or 5 autonomous driving technology in terms of hardware. This means that the EV will have dual redundancy in both steering and braking and a suite of the camera, radars, and lidar, for both short and long range. This is to sense inclement weather conditions and strange lighting circumstances.

According to the CTO Peter Rawlinson, they will have to wait for the legislation's and software's greenlight for the OTA download of the software. In fact, they are in partnership with Mobileye for the sensing tech.

When directly asked whether or not the Lux EV's autonomous driving will be ready at launch, Rawlinson directly answered, "No." But hardware-wise, it will be, anticipating a Level 3 at launch as legislative requirements have to be satisfied for the Level 4 or 5.  

There will be an anticipated 50,000 units built annually at the company's Arizona plant, although for the first year, they will more or less be at 8000 to 10,000 and gradually improve production over the next 3 years. They will put great emphasis on quality control.

Price-wise, Lucid Air starts from $60,000. But note that they are starting to a relatively high-end product and eventually cascade down to more affordable products.

Certainly, Lucid Motor's Lucid Air is one tough EV packed with autonomous driving tech and a luxurious interior. At the price only starts at $60,000 for its already high-end product. This is something to look forward to as EVs in the future could become more affordable with a significant mile range.

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