Tesla Challenger Lucid Motors Shares New Details of the Air Sedan's Design, Including its 113 kWh Battery
【Summary】Tesla Rival Lucid Motors is set to reveal its ultra-luxury Air sedan on Sept 9. In the meantime, the automaker has shared some new details on how the Air was engineered, including using a miniaturized electric powertrain that allowed for Lucid’s engineering team to create a big luxurious interior space.
California luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors is set to reveal its ultra-luxury Air sedan on Sept 9. In the meantime, the automaker has shared some new details on how the Air was engineered, including using a miniaturized electric powertrain that allowed for Lucid's engineering team to create a bigger interior space.
Most of the world's automakers have to design their vehicle interiors around a conventional internal combustion engine powertrain, which might include a large and heavy combustion, a large fuel tank, and a transmission powering the rear wheels via a driveshaft. This approach often results in less room for occupants, but also restricts the vehicle's overall layout.
Lucid Motors designed its fully-electric Air on a flat skateboard platform, which frees up additional space for the cabin. The company calls its skateboard EV platform "LEAP" (Lucid Electric Advanced Platform) and represents Lucid's philosophy of combining high-performance and luxury in an electric car.
However the Air is no ordinary electric car, Lucid likens it to traveling in an luxury executive jet, including available rear executive seats that recline 55 degrees. Occupants of Lucid Air will enjoy an "unparalleled experience", the company said.
The Lucid Air has an estimated EPA range of up to 517 miles as well as up to 1,000 horsepower available from its dual-motor architecture. Lucid said it was able to add this level of electric performance without intruding on the passenger space.
"It's relatively easy to achieve more range by adding progressively more batteries, but gaining ‘dumb range' that way increases weight and cost, and reduces interior space," said Peter Rawlinson CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors. "Lucid Air has achieved its remarkable range whilst also reducing battery size through its in-house technology."
Lucid said the Air's unibody structure was designed around a powerful compact 113 kWh extended-range battery pack. For comparison, the battery in the 2020 Tesla Model S Performance is rated at 100 kWh.
The compact battery is positioned low in the cabin floor, maximizes passenger comfort and provides a surprisingly large amount of storage space, including the largest "frunk" (front trunk) ever offered on an electric car, Lucid says.
The frunk is the space where an internal combustion engine would normally be, but since the Air is fully-electric, that space has been repurposed as an large extra storage compartment.
The Lucid Air luxury-electric sedan.
The ‘Lucid Space Concept'
Lucid refers to the Air's innovative approach to automotive layout as its "Lucid Space Concept", which takes advantage of the miniaturization of the Air's electric drivetrain and battery pack. The Lucid Air is the first EV designed from the ground up around a compact electric powertrain and battery pack, the company says. This gave Lucid's engineers the opportunity to create a bigger passenger space.
The "Lucid Space Concept" was implemented from the Air's inception all the way through the development process, the automaker said. The Air's interior is as large as the Mercedes Benz S Class sedan and bigger than the Tesla Model S.
The Lucid Motors attention to detail extends to the design of the Air's exterior. The Air underwent testing at North Carolina's Windshear automotive wind tunnel. Lucid verified a coefficient of drag (Cd) of just 0.21, making the Air the world's most aero-efficient luxury car. The facility can measure a vehicle's air resistance at speeds up to 180 mph, a speed which the Air prototype topped in 2017.
The Air prototype reached speeds of 235 mph at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) facility in Ohio in July 2017. That topped the previous speed record of 217 mph.
Lucid Motors also announced that the Air will also be the fastest charging electric vehicle, with the capability to charge at rates that will add up to 20 miles per minute. This translates into 300 miles of driving range with just 20 minutes of charging in real-world conditions.
Newark, California-based Lucid Motors traces its roots back to Tesla. The company's CEO and CTO is Peter Rawlinson, who was the chief designer of the Tesla Model S and worked under CEO Elon Musk.
In 2013, Rawlinson joined Lucid Motors and set out to build an electric car that's better than the Tesla Model S, with a much more advanced electric powertrain and luxury features. The Air will also feature an advanced driver assist system (ADAS) Lucid calls "DreamDrive."
The EV will be produced at Lucid's new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, in early 2021 with the batteries being supplied by South Korean battery maker LG Chem.
A production version of the Lucid Air will be revealed in a global online event on Sept 9. In addition to the vehicle's interior and exterior designs, Lucid Motors will share new details about the Air's production specifications, available configurations and pricing.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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