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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Sep 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Polaris to make electric snowmobiles and off-road vehicles

In the future, Polaris will offer electric powertrains across its lineup of snowmobiles and off-road vehicles. (Pictured is a current model, which doesn't represent the future product.) Photo credit: Polaris Inc.

Polaris plans to electrify its popular lineup of off-road vehicles and snowmobiles through a new 10-year technology partnership with Zero Motorcycles.

Why it matters: People who want to enjoy the Great Outdoors don't have to worry about polluting the environment or disturbing the wilderness when they're riding on a nearly-silent, zero-emission machine.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

EPA vs. California's new electric vehicle mandate

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

EPA is making its opening moves against California's plan to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 — the latest front in the battle between the White House and the state over climate policy.

Driving the news: Via The Wall Street Journal, EPA boss Andrew Wheeler sent California Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter attacking the plan and arguing it would require EPA approval.

Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding into early December, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Driving the news: The Senate on Tuesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10. The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election, though funding did expire briefly before the bill was signed.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.