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Lucid EV makes a cameo, and camo'ed, appearance in Los Angeles

Startup automaker Lucid Motors showed its drivable electric vehicle, still in development, in a brief appearance at the Los Angeles auto show.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
Lucid Motors alpha sedan
1 of 15 Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
2 of 15 Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

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 alpha sedan
3 of 15 Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
4 of 15 Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

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 alpha sedan
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Lucid Motors is building autonomous capability into its sedan, although this alpha model does not yet have the sensor suite.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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As an electric car, Lucid emphasizes aerodynamic efficiency and light weight. The structure of the car uses aluminum extensively to keep weight low.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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As a premium sedan, Lucid fits its car with an adaptive suspension all around, increasing comfort and improving handling.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson says the LED headlight structure was inspired by insect eyes, and uses microlenses to shape the light pattern.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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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 Motors alpha sedan
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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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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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 Motors alpha sedan
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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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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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.

Lucid Motors alpha sedan
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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.

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