The upcoming Lucid Air officially passes the 500-mile range barrier.
Range anxiety is quickly becoming a thing of the past — and the Lucid Air just seized a huge milestone. According to official EPA figures, the top-end “Dream Edition” can get a staggering 520 miles on a single charge.
That’s a remarkable result, for a few reasons. The European WLTP standard tends to look more favorably upon electric car range, while the EPA can publish a more pessimistic result. A good case in point for that is the Porsche Taycan, for which the 4S model with Porsche’s larger performance battery is rated at just 227 miles. Until now, the Tesla Model S Long Range really had no close competition either, as its capable of 405 miles on a single charge. Other rivals to both Tesla and Lucid are hitting the market over the next few years, but many electric cars are still just cracking the 300-mile mark, let alone 500 miles on a charge.
The EPA has yet to publish official range specs for the impending Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, though Mercedes says it should land somewhere in the high 400-mile area.
More technical specs
How did the Lucid Air land a Tesla-beating range figure? Part of the answer comes down to capacity. While the car does use the same sort of cylindrical cell layout as the Tesla Model S, higher-end Grand Touring and Dream Edition models pack a 113-kWh battery, to the Model S’ 100-kWh pack. As it’s been under development for several years, Lucid’s engineering team also had the opportunity to refine virtually every part of the drivetrain for maximum efficiency. Overall, that iteration and those improvements over the development cycle help make the most out of every available kilowatt-hour of charge.
Unlike many other cars in the industry, the Lucid Air uses a 900-volt electrical architecture. That higher voltage helps the battery run cooler, which also helps reserve energy for driving. Downsizing components — including what Lucid Air says are “miniaturized” drive units — saves weight, and that helps efficiency.
It’s not going to come cheap, of course
At present, the $169,000-and-up 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition has four separate ratings — two each for the “Dream Range” and “Dream Performance” trims. The former, with 19-inch wheels, manages the best range at 520 miles. It’s also the second-most efficient version of the Air, with a 125 MPGe rating. Speccing larger 21-inch wheels drops the range and efficiency figures down to 481 miles and 116 MPGe combined, respectively.
The Dream Performance version, Lucid’s 1,111 horsepower flagship (up from 933 on the Dream Range), nets 471 miles and 116 MPGe. Want 21-inch wheels? Again, the figures drop to 451 miles and 111 MPGe.
Neither version of that car is cheap, not to mention they’re already sold out. The EPA published results for the Lucid Air Grand Touring, though — and that one comes in at $139,000. With 19-inch wheels, it manages 516 miles of range according to official estimates. It’s also technically the most efficient Air, with a 131 MPGe combined rating. Finally, adding 21-inch wheels here drops that range down to 469 miles, and the efficiency down to 121 MPGe. You do sacrifice some performance against the Dream Editions, but you still get 800 horsepower on tap here.
Nevertheless, all Lucid Air models are more expensive than Tesla’s $89,990, 405-mile Model S Long Range. Even the 1,020 horsepower Plaid comes in at “just” $129,990. Less expensive Lucid Air models are coming, however, and even the top-end cars’ price tags come in lower than the $185,000 Porsche Taycan Turbo S. Still, most of these cars have reached range parity with their gasoline-powered counterparts — and alleviate the dreaded range anxiety that’s stymied EV adoption over the years.
More on the Air from its premiere below: