2021 Lucid Air: Everything we know about pricing, specs and more
The latest would-be "Tesla killer" launches next year with massive power, huge range and the world's fastest charging system.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
It's been a long road since Lucid Motors first announced its concept EV way back in 2016, but it looks like the fledgling automaker is lining up for a spectacular finish with the reveal of the production-ready version of its 500-mile, 1,080-horsepower 2021 Lucid Air electric sedan. With numbers like those, hopefully it was worth the wait.
The exterior still looks nearly identical to the concept. We don't yet have specific dimensions, but Lucid's Design VP, Derek Jenkins, told me in an interview prior to the unveiling that the windswept sedan is slightly smaller than the Tesla Model S in every exterior dimension.
"[The Air's] width is around 35 to 40 millimeters narrower, height is about 30 millimeters lower and length is probably only about five to ten millimeters shorter. So, if you think Model S is on the larger side and [Mercedes-Benz] E-Class is slightly smaller, our car sits right in the middle," Jenkins explained. "It's a good all-around size for maneuverability, performance and handling and certainly for getting around in big cities and parking, internationally. But that's the outside, the inside is more in line with a full sized sedan, like the S-Class or [BMW] 7 Series."
2021 Lucid Air debuts with 1,080 horsepower Dream Edition
The Air also doubles up on cargo space with a ridiculously wide rear trunk opening and a large front storage area; Lucid claims this is the largest "frunk" of any electric car to date. Storage at both ends feature bi-level organization and can be remotely opened with the key fob, the Lucid app or via Amazon Alexa command, so no fumbling around under the hood looking for the release latch. After launch, Lucid will also offer an all-weather tub for the frunk, good for storing wet or dirty items like muddy hiking boots or wet wetsuits.
Interestingly those vents on the hood are functional. Hidden intakes in the distinctive front light bar channel air to first cool the Micro Lens Array LED headlamps and then to form an aerodynamic curtain around the side wing mirrors. Other aerodynamic details — including using the angled underside of the battery tray as a sort of diffuser — and a wind-tunnel shaped body help the Air slip through the air with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.21, emboldening Lucid to call this "the most aerodynamic luxury car in the world." (For comparison, the Model S and Toyota Prius, widely regarded as two of the slipperiest cars in their respective classes, boast 0.24 Cd. Porsche's Taycan claims 0.22 Cd.)
Watch this: 2021 Lucid Air packs 1,080 hp punch, 517-mile range
Inside, the Lucid Air features a massive, 34-inch curved Glass Cockpit 5K instrument cluster that splits information between three zones, at least two of which are touch sensitive. On the left are vehicle controls like wipers, door locks and lighting. The middle display is home traditional instrument cluster info like charge status, speed, range, and the like. The rightmost display is where you'll tap and swipe around navigation and audio controls. There's also a separate retractable Pilot Panel touch display on the center console that puts more in-depth vehicle and infotainment controls at the driver's and passenger's fingertips and a selection of physical controls on the steering wheel.
The Air will also feature the Lucid DreamDrive ADAS suite, a fusion of 32 sensors — including cameras, radar, ultrasonics and standard high-resolution LIDAR — that Lucid will use to provide Level 2 and, eventually, Level 3 driver assistance technologies.
Lucid's electric vehicle platform is built around its compact 900-volt, drive unit that integrates the 650-horsepower electric motor, transmission, differential and three-phase AC inverter into a 163-pound package small enough to fit into a carry-on bag. Lucid credits the ultra-high voltage and its cutting edge silicon carbide transistor technology for the system's incredible efficiency.
Depending on the trim, the Air will pack one or two of these tiny powerplants for up to 1,080 horsepower. So equipped, you're looking at zero to sixty sprints in 2.5 seconds, repeatable 9.9 second quarter-mile runs without overheating and a top speed of 168 mph.
The next piece of the puzzle is the "Wunderbox," a 192 kW, bi-directional onboard charger that can add up to 20 miles of range per minute when connected to a DC Fast Charging network. Lucid claims the "world's fastest charging EV" is able to boost cram in 300 miles of range from just 20 minutes at the tap under optimal conditions.
The bi-directional nature of the Air's onboard charger presents all sorts of interesting possibilities beyond basic grid-to-car charging. An individual could, for example, temporarily power their home during an outage (like the ones we're experiencing around California now) or a fleet of Airs could help even out grid spikes and dips. In an emergency, a future Air owner might even be able to give a stranded Lucid driver the most powerful jump start ever by sharing a few surplus miles of charge with car-to-car charging.
Energy is stored in Lucid's high-voltage battery pack, built on technology derived from the Formula E electric racing series. Multiple battery sizes will be offered over the Air's lifetime with the largest "extended range" pack storing up to 113 kWh of juice, good for up to 517 miles cruising range when paired with the Air's 19" AeroRange wheels and tires.
Pricing and availability
During its initial year, the Air will be available in three flavors, starting with the top-trim Air Dream Edition. It's got dual-electric motors — one per axle for all-wheel drive — the biggest battery pack and the full-fat 1,080 horsepower. The Dream Edition's weight and 21-inch wheels cost it a bit of range, dropping down to 465 miles, but optioning the smaller 19s can bring it back to 503 miles. With great power comes a great big price tag, starting at $169,000 with expected delivery in Spring 2021.
2021 Lucid Air lineup
Air Dream Edition
Air Grand Touring
Next off the line will be the $139,000 Air Grand Touring in mid-2021. It also boasts dual motors and the extended battery, however, thriftier 800-horsepower tune and standard 19-inch wheels grant the Grand Touring the longest possible cruising range at the 517 estimated miles.
In late 2021, the Air Touring will join the lineup at $95,000 with a smaller battery pack and a single motor on its rear axle making 620 horsepower. It'll do zero-to-sixty in 3.2 seconds, the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds and top out at 155 mph. Range steps down to 406 miles per charge. These are all still pretty impressive numbers.
Of course, the Air should qualify for a federal EV tax credit, which Lucid reckons will knock about $7,500 off the bottom line of all trim levels. Lucid's roadmap also includes a base Air model arriving in 2022 to bring the starting price down to "below $80,000." Presumably, it'll have less power, a yet smaller battery or both, but power and range estimates are still yet to be determined.
Preorders for the 2021 Lucid Air open today in the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East with a refundable $1,000 deposit for the Touring and Grand Touring or a $7,500 refundable deposit for the limited production Dream Edition.