2022 Lucid Air quick drive review: High quality, high hopes

Don’t fret, the door handles keep retracted more often than not. However even when deployed, they do not mess with the seems to be that a lot.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Within the face of electrification, legacy automakers have a head begin of kinds. In any case, they’ve had the “automobile” half discovered for many years; all that is left is shoehorning within the electrical parts. Lucid, then again, is within the reverse scenario: After years of growing EV batteries for FIA System E racing, now it is time to construct a automobile round what it is realized. That automobile is the Lucid Air, and a really transient spin exhibits an terrible lot of promise.

From soup to nuts

Earlier than sliding behind the wheel, Lucid took me on a tour of its powertrain and common meeting amenities, situated about midway between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. At some point, Lucid will corral almost all elements of the car-making course of right into a single campus, however with just one part of building full, it is at the moment assembling powertrains in a rented constructing just a few miles away from the power and counting on suppliers for sure processes like elements stamping. However what exists now is sufficient to begin constructing the high-end Air Dream Version trim, and manufacturing autos fairly actually began rolling off the road days previous to my arrival.

No, there are no tents to be seen. This can be a absolutely baked manufacturing plan from begin to end. I wasn’t given many particulars concerning the processes for its effectively packaged batteries and electrical motors, partly as a result of they’re loaded with commerce secrets and techniques that Lucid thinks will give it an early edge over the competitors. However after watching stators get wound and cylindrical battery cells getting loaded into modules the place the bus bars are molded into the enclosure, it is clear that Lucid needs to have as a lot management as attainable over each inch of the Air’s most essential items. That is how a battery with a 113-kilowatt-hour capability can produce a range value as prodigious as Lucid’s.

The overall meeting constructing is stuffed with know-how. Each crew I met on the tour had collective many years of expertise placing collectively automobiles or operating vegetation for Ford, Basic Motors and different main automakers. The processes that flip the Air from pallets of elements into complete automobiles usually are not a lot completely different from how all people else does it. Positive, there are intelligent elements, like how automobile our bodies journey by way of a curing course of sideways to higher deal with the within of the shell, however for probably the most half Lucid’s not making an attempt to reinvent the wheel.

It is fast, however is that sufficient?

I overheard Lucid’s executives patting themselves on the again on the conclusion of the drive occasion, noting to one another what number of executives and early adopters have been smitten with the Air’s acceleration. Bother is, a complete lot of electrical automobiles can smash heads into headrests with little situation, however that luster fades quick. Survival, then, is based on whether or not or not the automobile in query can provide its homeowners one thing above and past uncooked g-forces, one thing different automakers do not have.

Wow issue goes to be a kind of issues for Lucid, and there is loads of visible punch right here. Sliding into the backseat — and bumping my head on the low roof — I am met with a lot glass. The windshield extends almost midway up the roof, with one other large glass panel above the again seats. The Air might have much less rear legroom than a Honda Accord, however all that daylight pouring in makes it really feel extra expansive.

Aesthetics play an enormous half within the Air. The cabin is stuffed with attention-grabbing supplies, together with each leather-based and high-quality materials, and the overall structure is clear and uncluttered. As with different new EVs, screens abound, with the dashboard sprouting a 34-inch show that covers normal gauge cluster stuff along with a novel infotainment system I did not get any time to fiddle with. A middle console display covers automobile capabilities, local weather management, all the opposite standard issues. Maybe the weirdest a part of all of it is that the electrical steering column can solely be moved by way of this show, which feels unnecessarily difficult.

The Air’s two-spoke steering wheel is snug, with most menu manipulation coming from the 2 thumb wheels on mentioned spokes.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

My 10-minute spin takes place within the Lucid Air Dream Version Vary, which does not have the full-fat 1,111-horsepower output of the Efficiency variant. However 993 hp is not something to shake a stick at. But, there’s loads of right-pedal leeway for tender begins in its default Clean mode. Regenerative braking can be sturdy sufficient to comfortably one-pedal my means round city.

Lucid’s adaptive dampers lack the outright pillowy nature of an air-based setup, however the suspension does a commendable job absorbing freeway enlargement joints in each Clean and Swift modes, and it holds the Air’s physique good and flat throughout off-ramp cloverleaf hustling. Sadly, my restricted time with the Air was strictly structured, so I am going to want one other crack on the automobile to actually consider the distinction between automobile variables.

Sure, the Air is fast, however something with 933 hp can be fast even when the curb weight eclipses 5,000 kilos. A single-speed transmission means there’s nothing however ahead movement, so it feels nearer to a Tesla Model S or Mercedes-Benz EQS than a Porsche Taycan and its two-speed field. The Air pulls with authority properly past double digits, except you are a cop, by which case I drove the pace restrict the entire time.

Right down to brass tacks

Acceleration alone might present the Lucid Air with the preliminary impressions that places our bodies by way of the entrance door, however no automobile firm can survive on that alone. Fortunately, Lucid has extra to supply than the identical G-force experiences as its main opponents. If the tech proves as good because the preliminary impressions, the Air ought to present a extra uniquely styled, expressive mannequin towards the when-did-they-make-this-design-again Mannequin S and the melted-egg-business-suit EQS. However I am going to in all probability want greater than 10 minutes to make certain.

Editors’ notice: Journey prices associated to this story have been coated by the producer, which is frequent within the auto business. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s workers are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/information/2022-lucid-air-first-drive-review/#ftag=CADf328eec | 2022 Lucid Air fast drive overview: Top quality, excessive hopes


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