With up to 517 miles of EPA-estimated all-electric range and as much as 1080 horsepower, the 2021 Lucid Air aspires to be much more than a mere Tesla rip-off. The first model from startup Lucid Motors boasts an aerodynamic shape that’s functional and fashionable. Its spacious and upscale cabin is covered by a glassy canopy that should help it live up to its atmospheric name. The Air also mixes practicality with technology, sporting capacious storage options and no shortage of driver assists. The company says that owners should be able to resupply 300 miles of range in 20 minutes at a fast-charging station. And for those in a hurry, the quickest version can travel a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds. Sure, Lucid Air sounds more like an ’80s cover band than a luxury sedan, but the Tesla Model S sounded like an obscure electrical invention from the 19th century when it debuted, so only time will tell how far the 2021 Air ascends.
What’s New for 2021?
While Tesla has established itself as the preeminent EV automaker, Lucid Motors is currently best known for supplying batteries to Formula E race cars. Now, the upstart company looks to challenge luxury alternatives such as the Model S and Porsche Taycan with its all-new 2021 Air sedan.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Base: $79,995 (est.)
- Touring: $95,000
- Grand Touring: $139,000
- Dream Edition: $169,000
Since we’re still waiting on more details about the Air’s base model, which also won’t be available until 2022, we’d steer towards the Grand Touring. While it costs significantly more than the Touring, it has an extra 109 miles of EPA estimated driving range (517 total) and another 150 horsepower (800 total). While customers in North America can’t take deliveries of the new sedan until spring 2021, currently they can reserve one with a fully refundable deposit that starts at $1000.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Air will offer dual electric motors that provide all-wheel drive and a set of different horsepower ratings. The Touring model generates 650 horses, the Grand Touring makes 800, and the top-of-the-line Dream Edition develops an enormous 1080 ponies. We also expect a single-motor, rear-drive version to eventually join the lineup. Until then, Lucid claims the quickest Air can complete the quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds at 144 mph, which is insanely quick even for high-performance cars. The fastest version of the electrified sedan will also have a top speed of 168 mph. The Air will be supported by an air suspension, too, which the company says helps provide a smooth ride. Its low center of gravity is also expected to help its handling characteristics.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The Air will have a driving range of up to 517 miles according to EPA estimates, which gives it the highest range of any electric vehicle currently on the market. The company also has said that the more affordable models will have shorter driving ranges. Lucid hasn’t announced the estimated driving range of the base model, but it says the Touring is expected to travel 406 miles and the Dream Edition should go between 465 and 503 miles on a single charge. The Air features a 113-kWh battery pack and DC fast-charging capability. Plugged into the latter, the sedan should be able to recoup 300 miles of range in 20 minutes. New owners will also enjoy three years of complimentary (read: free) fast-charging at Electrify America charging stations. There’s no cap on how many times owners can charge their cars, as long as it’s used for personal and not commercial purposes.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither Lucid nor the EPA have released any specifics about how efficient the Air will be. While we’ve been told it’ll have an EPA-estimated driving range of up to 517 miles, we won’t be able to put it through our extensive testing regimen and evaluate that claim in the real world until we get our hands on a production version.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Make no mistake, the Air is intended to be a luxury car, and its handsome interior is fitted with rich-looking materials and cutting-edge technology. Lucid is especially proud of the sedan’s expansive passenger space, which is highlighted by a large back seat. While the standard rear seating is said to be comfortable for up to three adults, there’s also an optional Executive Rear Seating option that brings significant recline functions for ultimate comfort. The Air’s cabin will offer a mostly glass roof that makes it feel even airier and helps outward visibility. The sedan’s front center console looks to provide generous storage space behind the retractable lower touchscreen and inside the large center-console bin, which houses a set of cupholders as well as slots to place a smartphone. We’re also told its front trunk—or frunk—will have 10 cubic feet of volume, the largest of any electric vehicle.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Air is outfitted with a sophisticated infotainment system that incorporates a large upper touchscreen that flows out of the fully digital gauge cluster and a tabletlike lower touchscreen that handles additional functions and can be retracted into the dashboard. Lucid says the system’s voice-recognition software will respond to natural speech patterns. The interface also has an artificial assistant that learns the user’s preferred music and climate settings. In addition to some physical controls on the steering wheel, there are a set of toggles for temperature and fan speed as well as a roller to adjust the volume of the audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Air hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Lucid will also offer an array of driver-assistance technology as well as Level 3 self-driving abilities. The latter won’t initially be available, but through the magic of over-the-air updates it’s expected to be offered within three years. Key safety features should include:
- Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
With Lucid being a startup automaker with no previous products, we don’t have any information on its warranty or maintenance coverage. The company has said it will compete with Tesla, so it’s plausible that Lucid could offer a similar warranty of four years or 50,000 miles of limited coverage and at least eight years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection.
- Limited warranty is expected to cover four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty is expected to cover eight years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance is expected