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Lucid Air assembly line in Casa Grande, Ariz. Photo: Lucid Group

Lucid Group says production of its new electric luxury sedans has begun and it will start delivering cars to customers by the end of October.

Why it matters: The Lucid Air, starting at $77,400, is among a slew of plug-in models like the Mercedes Benz EQS, Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron all hoping to challenge Tesla's control of the EV market.

  • Lucid's first car, the Air Dream Edition, is a $169,000 special edition with a Tesla-beating range of up to 520 miles.

Driving the news: Lucid, founded by former Tesla engineer Peter Rawlinson, had its official coming out party on Tuesday.

  • The company invited media, investors and customers for a behind-the-scenes look at its powertrain and assembly plants in Casa Grande, Arizona, as the first customer-ready models rolled off the line.
  • Lucid said it has 13,000 Air reservations so far, and is striving to produce 520 of the Dream Edition models this year, with production of less expensive versions ramping up next year to 30,000 vehicles.

Between the lines: Lucid's secret sauce is proprietary EV technology that packs more energy into a smaller package.

  • That translates into a lighter, more efficient, and less expensive EV, the company explained.

Bonus: After the factory tour, Lucid let select reporters drive the Air for the first time.

  • I drove the Dream Edition R, which maximizes the driving range over performance, leaving me with a mere 933 horsepower to overtake ordinary gasoline cars on the highway.

A key takeaway of my (brief) time behind the wheel: The Lucid Air is two cars in one. It's both a sublime luxury sedan and a powerful, thrilling sports car.

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: the year's best vehicles

Joann Muller in the battery-electric Hyundai Ionic 5, which has a futuristic interior. Photo: Miles Johnson for Axios

This week, I spent two glorious fall days evaluating dozens of cars, trucks and SUVs on the roads near Ann Arbor, Michigan, to determine the best of the best.

Why it matters: The annual comparison drive brings together 50 professional automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada who are jurors for the independent North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.