This is the Lucid Air, the first vehicle to come from California-based EV-startup Lucid Motors, formerly known as Atieva. The luxury car, a direct rival to Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, is expected to see production in late 2018.
Designed at Lucid’s studio in Menlo Park, California, under the direction of former Mazda North America design director Derek Jenkins, the all-electric car is said to blend three cars into one, combining luxury, performance and efficiency. It fits an S-Class interior space into an exterior footprint equal to that an E-Class, completes a 0-60mph stint in 2.5 seconds and can travel 400 miles on a single charge of its floor-mounted battery pack.
The design language is one of simplicity. The car’s forms and volumes are soft and sensual, while its detailing is a definite high-tech nod to Silicon Valley. Only one taut line adorns the bodyside, providing tension between the wheelarches, while a subtle lightcatcher element in the lower doors detracts from the car’s visual height. Capped with an aluminum cant rail running from the A-pillar to the base of the C-pillar — and acting as brace for the all-glass canopy and a bridge over the backlight — the design exudes class and sophistication.
Its sumptuous interior, complete with foldaway main screen in the center stack, is extremely inviting. Inspired by luxury business jets, the large front bucket seats and separate reclining seats at the rear (there’s also an option for a rear bench seat) are joined by an array of screens throughout the cabin. Light colored leather and veneers lend a warm, modern feel to the interior and enhance the feeling of space, while the chrome trim gives the cabin a technical look and harmonizes with elements of the exterior design.
The technical message is more than just a simple look, however. The Lucid Air includes a number of technologically advanced elements both on the surface and beneath the skin. Along with the claimed 1000hp generated from its extremely compact electric motors, the Air also features an ultra-slim self-adjusting lighting system that employs thousands of micro-lenses for enhanced functionality, which Lucid claims to be an industry first. These not only look incredible but also improve energy efficiency by up to 50 percent compared to conventional LED headlights.
Lucid says it plans to enter the fully autonomous space in the next few years and is fitting its cars with a comprehensive sensor suite and software to enable this transition. Many of the systems in the connected cabin are voice activated, and Lucid is enabling the integration of common mobile applications through its own app to deliver customers a thorough luxury mobility experience.
The reveal of the Lucid Air — which is expected to retail for a $65k starting price and rise through to $100k for well-equipped models — is the latest in a series of electric vehicles borne from Chinese-backed EV startups in California, and it’s very impressive.