Silicon Valley startup Lucid Motors gave the public a preview look at its first car during the Los Angeles auto show during a brief appearance. The company, formerly named Atieva, has been very secretive about its work up until now. The as-yet unnamed car will be a premium electric sedan.
Designer Derek Jenkins takes advantage of the car's electric drivetrain in shaping the sedan, deemphasizing the front end of the car, as it does not need to hold a large internal combustion engine. Similarly, the car is not nearly as long as other premium sedans, such as the BMW 7-Series, yet offers comparable or better cabin space due to the electric drivetrain packaging.
Lucid Motors has an F1 racing engineer on staff who designed the front air intake. This intake uses a vortex design, so that incoming air pressure creates a circulating pattern. That air is used to cool the battery pack, as the car does not need a traditional radiator.
Lacking an engine, the front of the car holds the front suspension and one of its two electric drive motors. And like the Tesla Model S, there is space under the hood for cargo.
Lucid Motors is building autonomous capability into its sedan, although this alpha model does not yet have the sensor suite.
As an electric car, Lucid emphasizes aerodynamic efficiency and light weight. The structure of the car uses aluminum extensively to keep weight low.
As a premium sedan, Lucid fits its car with an adaptive suspension all around, increasing comfort and improving handling.
Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson says the LED headlight structure was inspired by insect eyes, and uses microlenses to shape the light pattern.
The roofline remains high toward the rear of the sedan, making for ample rear headroom. Lucid intends to offer an executive rear-seat package not unlike a first-class seat in an airliner.
Lucid has been testing its electric drivetrain extensively, and not only expects to get a range at well over 300 miles, but estimates acceleration to 60 mph at around 2.6 seconds, which is extremely quick.
Although the trunk looks short, space does not need to be used for a gas tank, so cargo space should be ample. The battery pack for the car is located under the floor of the cabin.
In its alpha development stage, body panels show large gaps, which will tighten up for production. However, this example is complete enough for drivetrain and suspension testing.
Lucid keeps this example covered in camouflage for the preview. The company plans a full launch of its car on December 14, although production will likely not happen until 2018.
As a development vehicle the cabin is completely unfinished, although it does have full driver controls and LCDs which approximate what the production car will get.
The rear area looks cavernous without a seat or finishing materials. However, the electric drivetrain also allows for more space in the rear than with an internal combustion car.