In mid-November, the electric vehicle startup Lucid shocked the automotive world as the Lucid Air Dream was anointed MotorTrend’s Car of the Year 2022 – their first production release. This marks the first time a company’s first production car has ever won the award. However, with industry veterans in Lucid’s leadership, including CEO and Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson, the former chief engineer at Tesla during the development of the Model S, the Lucid Air’s accolades are perhaps less surprising, yet no less deserving. The car is an engineering powerhouse, and every single aspect of the car reflects that.
When Rawlinson was first designing the car along with a laundry list of other requirements, he said that the car should drive like a Lotus, and should be topped off with a healthy 500-mile battery range. If specs are anything to go by, I would say he succeeded. With a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds, it’s quicker off the line than all but the quickest of supercars, and most EVs too. This, coupled with an insane 1,111 horsepower, a respectable 168mph top speed makes its only real EV competitors the Tesla Model S Plaid and the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. The car achieves all this while employing a motor smaller than that of either the Tesla or the Porsche, which is the definition of efficiency. To top it off, the Lucid Air Dream boasts a 520-mile range from the battery; the longest battery range from any production car. What more would you expect from the company that designed the batteries used in Formula-E race cars.
The exterior certainly carries the same tune. Aesthetically, the car is stylish. It brings the same hallmarks as most high-end electric cars, although without any flashiness. It’s sleek, elegant, and sporty, but doesn’t really warrant any superlative descriptors for its stylishness. Nor does it need them. What it lacks in flashiness, it more than makes up for in the way it’s designed.
As a whole, the car is an embodiment of the design philosophy that form follows function.
The interior is no different. One of Rawlinson’s other conditions was that the car had an interior as spacious and beautiful as a Mercedes E-Class. Thanks to the car’s small engine block, the car certainly fulfills the requirement. It offers plenty of storage space, featuring a back trunk and front trunk space (aptly named the frunk) that is nearly four times larger than other electric cars. The cockpit is incredibly spacious as well. Like with many electric cars, the drivetrain doesn’t take up the space in the undercarriage that an internal combustion engine would. The result is a much taller ceiling and more legroom, something that you can almost never have too much of in a four-door sedan. Fittingly, the interior is decorated beautifully with almost entirely sustainable materials. The seats come in Napa leather, with an option to switch to PurLuxe vegan leather. The headliners are made from textiles that use alpaca and recycled yarn, and the wood is sustainably harvested Eucalyptus.
Like most cars, the Lucid Air requires yearly maintenance. However, thanks to Lucid’s over-the-air operating system, updates, diagnostics, and sometimes even repairs are conducted all without the need to visit a dealership.
The car is an engineering marvel. Currently priced at a little over $170,000, buyers are paying for one of the most thoroughly advanced electric vehicles on the market. However, for those who are understandably less inclined to pay the steep price, Lucid is releasing a Grand Touring version at $140,000 as well as a $77,000 version called the Lucid Air Pure, although it won’t be nearly as punchy as the other two. Rawlinson says he’s not in this business to make luxury EVs at Lucid, but he understands that in order to grow the brand it needs to make a statement. As far as statements go, I’d say the Lucid Air Dream has arrived.