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Lucid Air's 500 miles of range trumps Tesla's Model S battery

This startup's all-electric sedan looks like it will outdistance Tesla's venerable Model S when it comes to range.

Lucid Air - rear three-quarter view
Lucid swears its forthcoming Air EV will drive over 500 miles on a charge.

Hold up, Elon Musk. Tesla may have been the first to build an electric car with over 400 miles of range, but Lucid has some pretty astounding news to share. The startup, which has, at times, seemed to be teetering on the brink of collapse, announced on Tuesday that its forthcoming Air electric sedan will go an astounding 517 estimated miles on a single charge. Five-hundred and seventeen miles, folks. Today, the Tesla Model S is king with a 402-mile EPA-estimated range, and in reality, it will remain at the top until Lucid actually builds and sells Air. But when it does, it could deliver a mighty blow to Tesla.

Now, of course it's easy to toss numbers around when it comes to startups and wild concepts. But Lucid seems to have done its homework. They took the Air to FEV North America to undergo independent testing. There, FEV applied the EPA's current test cycle with the standard adjustment factor, and that effort returned the quoted517-mile range. In addition to the independent test results, Lucid said its own testing indicated the Air would go well beyond its original estimate of 400-plus miles of range.

"A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles of range; a reflection of our technology at that time," Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said. "In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency."

Essentially, Lucid thinks it was ahead of the game years ago. However, while the company struggled financially before being thrown a lifeline in the form of Saudi investment cash, it also continued to advance its own technology. That's brought us to today, less than a month before the production Air debuts in September.

Rawlinson also credited the Air's 900-volt electrical architecture and Atieva, Lucid's technology arm and battery supplier. Since 2018, Atieva's been the official battery supplier for the FIA Formula E racing series, and clearly, Lucid thinks its experience paid off in making a production electric car.

"I am pleased that we have consequently achieved an estimated EPA 517 miles of range today whilst also significantly reducing our battery pack's capacity, thereby reducing vehicle weight and cost and improving interior space," Rawlinson added.

This is quite an achievement from Lucid, though bear in mind, you can buy a Tesla Model S today, whereas you can't buy a Lucid Air after reading this story. Still, Lucid is still accepting reservations for the luxury sedan and plans to fire up production at its new factory in Arizona in early 2021. And unless Tesla drops the new Roadster or Cybertruck with their planned 500-mile ranges, Lucid looks to be the eventual victor.

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