It has been an exhilarating day for EV patrons. Lucid Motors announced that their Air sedan or simply put the Lucid Air will start retailing at a post-subsidy price of $69,900. Within hours of this announcement, Elon Musk put out a cheeky tweet announced the price cut for the Model S. The price cut looks like a response to the Lucid Air’s retail price. Elon Musk in his tweet teasingly said, “The gauntlet has been thrown down!” Many followers took this as a reaction to Lucid Air’s pricing. The tweet has already been re-tweeted over 26k times in a day!
The gauntlet has been thrown down!
The prophecy will be fulfilled.
Model S price changes to $69,420 tonight!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2020
Lucid Reveals The Price Of Base Air Sedan: RWD Powertrain, 480 HP, Priced From $69,900
In 2016 Lucid announced their sedan the Lucid Air. They hit the snooze button on the project for a year citing financial problems but woke up and started working on the project again on receiving monetary backing from a group based out of the Middle East Lucid Motors then emerged as a direct competitor to the dynasty that Tesla has created. More than the funding it was their then engineer and now CEO, Peter Rawlinson that made this threat seriously. Why you may ask? It is because Peter Rawlinson was one of the chief engineers on the Tesla Model S and everyone knows the dominance of the Model S in the EV sector.
Lucid & Tesla: The Rivalry Begins
In 2017 Lucid Motors promised the world that they will deliver an aggressive $60,000 base price for its luxury all-electric sedan. Lucid faced problems in their initial stages due to a lack of funds. However, they got a huge boost when a group from Saudi Arabia believed in their project and pumped over $1 billion in investments. Owing to these investments Lucid Motors stabilized and got back on track for their proposed project back in 2017. The majority of these funds were utilized for their primary manufacturing base. In late 2019, a year after the heavy investment, Lucid finally announced that construction is on at the Casa Grande, Arizona, site and they believe they are now on track for production to start in “late 2020.”
Lucid says that they have now started work on the foundations for the facility:
“Last month, the local Planning and Zoning Commission gave final approval of our multi-year master site plan. Land grading began in September, and crews are drilling and forming the caissons that will help form the structural foundation of the facility.”
The stage was set for Lucid to finally explode on the EV scene. In February, at the Bloomberg BNEF Summit in San Francisco Lucid Motors’ CEO gave an update saying that the Lucid will have a 900-volt system.
“Tesla is a 400-volt. Porsche is introducing an 800-volt system. We are going with an over 900-volt system.”
It’s going to be a first in a passenger electric vehicle and Rawlinson says that it is going to enable a more efficient powertrain that will go over 400 miles of range.
Rawlinson said at BNEF:
“Tesla hasn’t cracked it. We can take it to a whole new level of range and efficiency.”
Rawlinson claimed they could dethrone Tesla in regards to efficiency by potentially offering 4 even up to 5 miles per kWh. He then confirmed to Electrek that the top range version of the Air will get 400 miles, but it will use a smaller pack than 130 kWh – thanks to the efficiency gains they’ve made over the last few years. This was in February, come August all the buzz was around the unveiling of the Lucid Air. The “prophesized” direct competitor to the dynasty of the Tesla Model S was finally a reality. On 11th August, Lucid revealed that their Model AIR has an EPA-rated range of over 500 miles on a single charge; this figure was released as per an independent test. However, this was way more than what Rawlinson had claimed. This blew the rivalry wide open and surely there would be a new king of efficiency. Lucid at the time hadn’t revealed the other specifications but now the specs are out and they are tasty!
Tesla Model S Dethroned?
Lucid Motors on the 14th of October revealed the variants of the Lucid Air and their pricing. The table below summarizes the variants and their pricing.
|VARIANT||MSRP||POST SUBSIDY (FROM US GOVT.)|
|AIR GRAND TOURING||$139,000||$131,500|
|AIR DREAM EDITION||$169,000||$161,500|
*Note that the subsidy offered by the US Government on electric vehicles as an initiative to increase the number of people opting for EVs and collectively move towards a green future
What interests us is the base variant, the Lucid Air. It most certainly is a direct competition for Tesla Model S not only in terms of price but also the performance. Lucid Air will cost $2,000 less than the base Model S Long Range Plus. Even though the base Lucid Air won’t be available until sometime in 2022, the timing of Tesla’s price reduction is curious.
Lucid Air is slightly cheaper than its Tesla counterpart but it also outperforms it in certain aspects. Most notable is the charging speed; Lucid AIR will charge faster than the Tesla when connected to a DC charger. Another aspect in which the AIR holds an upper hand is a range. AIR has 406 miles (grand touring offers 517 miles) range which is slightly higher than Tesla’s 402-mile range. Tesla is still the more powerful offering 534 HP (398 KW) compared to the entry-level Lucid Air’s 480 HP (358 KW).
Is there enough evidence to say that Lucid Air has dethroned its Tesla counterpart? I don’t think so. Lucid hasn’t announced 0-60 times for the base model Air, but it’s fair to say it won’t challenge the Model S Long Range Plus’s 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds. Beyond the out and out performance, there are several areas where Tesla reigns superior. Nonetheless, this rivalry will certainly push Tesla to innovate and “crack” the efficiency level that Lucid claims it already has. The future looks bright for EV manufacturers and consumers.