Lucid Air could reach 400 miles of range at highway speeds

Not with a gigantic battery, but by squeezing out every last drop of driving efficiency.

I really love how the Air looks, but can it take on Tesla?
Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors has a banner year ahead as it plans to debut its Air electric sedan in production form in just about two months. Later this year, the Lucid Air will enter production.

If there's one thing Lucid's new machine grabbed attention with, it was a touted 400-mile range on the EPA test cycle. Well, it seems the startup will up the game further. Speaking to Green Car Reports, CEO Peter Rawlinson told the website in a Thursday report that the Air could go 400 miles at highway speeds.

For those not aware of the EV life, electric cars are far more efficient in stop-and-go traffic. Puttering around town gives the battery a chance to only power other portions of the car, not the wheels, and regenerative braking dumps precious electrons back into the battery pack. At a constant highway speed, EVs don't have the same luxury. It's essentially the opposite of traditional cars powered by an internal-combustion engine, which often return better highway fuel economy.

With that context, it's easy to see why a 400-mile highway range would be a pretty big deal.

Today's top range king is the Tesla Model S Long Range, which makes it to 373 miles. It too could be in for an upgrade to a 400-mile range, Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously said during the automaker's fourth-quarter earnings call. However, Rawlinson's comments suggest a 400-plus mile range is very, very possible if it will do 400 miles on the highway alone.

The way Lucid plans to achieve this incredible figure isn't from a gargantuan battery, either. All information points to the range-topping model running on a 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack, or somewhere in that neighborhood. So instead of making it larger, Rawlinson said the engineering team combed through just about every component to reduce rolling losses, increase aerodynamics and ensure the 100 kWh was used in the most efficient way possible. This is the guy who led the engineering efforts for the beloved Tesla Model S. He knows what he's doing.

We'll see how the Air stacks up when it debuts in New York this April. But we do know one thing: This electric sedan with these discussed specs isn't going to be cheap.

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