A luxury electric vehicle produced in Arizona is, well, a fairly unique notion but Lucid Motors is pulling it off and, in the process, it is changing some consumers’ minds about EVs. Lucid Motors used the recent Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction to educate automotive enthusiasts about the brand (if not the technology and performance) with test drives and, in the process, maybe change a few detractors’ minds about the future of electric vehicles.
“It’s an educational process and the response has been really positive,” says Dave Buchko, Lucid Motors product public relations manager. “I think we’ve done over 300 test drives and the response has been terrific. I think a lot of folks are surprised by the car and folks are surprised to learn that the cars are actually manufactured right here in Arizona.”
Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 under Atieva and initially focused on producing batteries and drivetrains for electric vehicles. In October 2016, it was rebranded Lucid Motors and set out to produce a high-performance luxury EV. By 2019, construction of its Casa Grande, Arizona, plant began and, in October 2021, Lucid began delivering its Air Dream Edition sedans to customers.
The Lucid Air Dream Edition featured the 118kWh version of Lucid’s long-range battery pack, with 22 modules totaling 6,600 cylindrical cells. Its performance was mind-boggling, with 1,111 horsepower on tap to propel the sedan from 0-60 mph in 2.42 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 9.67 seconds (with 21-inch wheel and tire package) and an EPA estimated 471 miles of range when equipped with the 19-inch wheel and tire package.
With the subsequent Air Grand Touring Performance model, Lucid upped the ante with 1,050 horsepower, 446 miles of range on a single charge and a 0-60 mph time of 2.6-seconds. But, unlike any offerings from Tesla, the interior and exterior of the Air Grand Touring Performance are on par with other luxury sedan offerings and was developed with sustainability in mind to boot.
“One of the goals for the company is to really advance the adoption of electric vehicles,” adds Buchko. “Knowing what was out there in the (automotive) landscape if you wanted an electric vehicle with the confidence of being able to go a long distance, even if you never did go 400 miles, you could. Then creating an environment inside the car that was high quality, with a different approach to the aesthetic. It has a very sort of mid-century modern look to it. It’s a different look than you’d get from a traditional German luxury car, but still the quality of the materials is high and yet still done with a view to sustainability.”
In Q4 2022, Lucid produced 3,493 vehicles and delivered 1,932 vehicles in the same period. For 2022 Lucid produced 7,180 vehicles and delivered 4,369 vehicles. Lucid’s future includes an international market, with European deliveries to Germany and the Netherlands having commenced in December 2022. But as a developing automotive manufacturer, questions arise about the necessary infrastructure for vehicle sales and service. Lucid does not have dealerships but, rather, sells cars directly to customers over the Internet or at Lucid Studio locations. Its service centers are largely located in major metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada, but Lucid maintains most maintenance can be handled remotely despite the lack of locations.
“The other thing about these electric vehicles that I think is going change people’s view of the ownership experience is about 80% of everything that you would ever need to do on this car from a maintenance or service standpoint can be done remotely,” says Buchko.
Of course, the Lucid experience is not cheap. The most reasonably priced offering, the Air Pure, starts at $87,400, with the Air Grand Touring setting you back $138,000 before options. The top-of-the-line Air Sapphire is $249,000 before you think of making any upgrades.
Any offering from Lucid has a high price point, but you get a luxury car with all the proper appointments, a range of 471 miles and performance with a 0-60 mph sprint in 2.6 seconds. EVs aren’t for everyone, but Lucid is making strides by demonstrating it wares in person and might change a few minds in the process.