The Place: The New York Auto Show
The Car: The Lucid Air luxury electric car
The end result: Lucid Air is being called, “The Tesla-Killer!”
California-based Lucid Motors has unveiled its fully-loaded $100K revolutionary Air luxury electric car. When Lucid transitions from prototype to a luxury sedan, it will join an impressive list of top electric vehicles. Fully equipped with cutting edge technology that rivals Tesla’s Model S, the Air comes with a panoramic glass canopy, 21-inch wheels, a 29-speaker audio system and two executive reclining seats. Built around the autonomous driving hardware, Lucid’s spacious interior matches its high-performance drivetrain. Capable of traveling 400 miles on one charge, Air’s 1,000-hp engine can go 0-60 mph in 2.5-seconds.
Semi-Autonomous Driving Technology
To position itself as the premier luxury EV brand, Lucid Motors solicited the services of former Model S Chief Engineer Peter Rawlinson and made him CTO. The first order of business: equipping Air with state of the art sensors, cameras, radar, and LIDAR; i.e., develop a semi-autonomous driving vehicle. The plan is to market its well-optimized model to luxury car aficionados, sports enthusiasts, and commuters. To do this effectively, Lucid will have to differentiate itself from Tesla who has a stranglehold on the luxury sedan EV market. According to a recent Mashable article, the Air uses a “special sculpted battery to free space for occupants.”
“The Tesla Model S is a great product – a landmark – and I was thrilled to be involved with it, but there are certain things it didn’t do,” Rawlinson said. “The battery pack bolts under the car just like Tesla, but the Tesla pack is continuous – a simple prism that runs front to rear. What we’ve done is sculpt the battery pack away, particularly around the rear occupants’ feet so it’s roomier and more comfortable.”
“The battery, the motors, the whole electric powertrain – we used an imaginative way to create a better vehicle package. People’s feet should take priority over batteries, so that drove the shape of the battery.”
Reclining Rear Seats
The Lucid Air strikes the perfect balance between luxury and innovation, especially with regard to its interior. From the leather trim and the wood accents to its swooped-back glass roof, Lucid Motors made sure its luxury sedan had an open layout with exposure to the outdoors. Taking advantage of the rear glass lookout, passengers are able to recline the back seats (up to 55-degrees) and experience the panoramic view. Can you imagine taking a nap in the reclining seats while you let the self-driving hardware take you to your final destination? The Level 4/Level 5 autonomous driving system is an action-packed system armed with a full suite of safety sensors.
Aside from the luxurious aesthetics, Air comes with three HD touch screen displays positioned strategically on the car’s dashboard. From climate control to GPS, everything can be managed through an iPad-sized display that futuristically emerges from the center of the dash. If the passengers in the back aren’t kept busy with the roof glass views, they can recline their seat with their own HD touch screen. From there, they can stream Netflix movies or listen to their Spotify playlist – a full selection of entertainment without compromising the outdoor experience.
AI Assistant Technology
“We want to have a natural voice experience, unlike what anyone has managed in this vehicle today – so comparable to an Echo or Siri-like experience, ” says Derek Jenkins, Vice President of Design at Lucid Motors. “The AI Assistant is really about the car learning, over time, your routine, being able to know what your typical day routes are, being able to know your schedule, being able to cite conflicts in your schedule, timing discrepancies that come up in your daily commute.”
Lucid Motors still has a lot of work, production wise, before launching its luxury EV to consumers at the end of 2018. In the time being, Tesla has built its Gigafactory hoping to improve battery power. With 500,000 Model 3 sedans currently in production and a full throttle plan of attack to improve EV range, Lucid is facing some pretty heavy competition in the luxury EV market. With that being said, its pre-production model is rather impressive. From the facial recognition technology that adjusts to the driver’s preferred settings to the spacious interior designed for an optimal self-driving experience, the Lucid Air is poised to take over the top position as the premier luxury electric vehicle.