Aug 11, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Newcomer Lucid Motors sets new benchmark for electric driving range

Beauty image of a Lucid Air electric sedan on a deserted highway, from Lucid Motors

The upcoming Lucid Air. Photo: Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle startup, says its upcoming Lucid Air luxury sedan is expected to achieve an unprecedented driving range of 517 miles on a single battery charge.

Why it matters: Lucid's driving range is about 115 miles farther than Tesla's longest-range Model S, but more important, the efficiency breakthrough could enable the arrival of more affordable EVs in the future.

Nobody needs 500+ miles of electric driving range, admits Lucid Air's CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson.

  • "It's crazy. It's dangerous to drive that long without taking a break," he told Axios.
  • "What’s really exciting about this is the breakthrough in efficiency. It will lead to the $25,000 (electric) car, and it will come sooner because of the technology we're developing."

Today the way to get more driving range out of an electric vehicle is simple: use a bigger battery.

  • Lucid made its system more efficient so it can use a smaller battery pack, reducing vehicle weight and cost, and providing more interior space for passengers.
  • The Lucid Air's range has not yet been rated by the Environmental Protection Agency, but an independent engineering lab widely used by automakers came up with the estimate using the EPA's own testing procedure.

Between the lines: Through some nifty in-house engineering that includes the integration of miniaturized electric motors with other components and a 900+ volt electrical architecture, Lucid optimized the powertrain's performance and efficiency.

  • The technology was perfected through the Formula E racing series for electric cars.

What's next: More details are expected when the production version of the Lucid Air makes its online debut Sept. 9.

  • Production begins in early 2021 at a new factory being completed near Phoenix.
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