October 25, 2021

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520-mile EPA range rating ousts Tesla from top spot

The U.S. EPA has posted official efficiency and range estimates for the 2022 Lucid Air electric luxury sedan. Its 520-mile range rating establishes a new record, surpassing that of the highest-range Tesla by more than 100 miles.

It is the longest-range EV ever rated by the EPA, Lucid emphasizes. It’s not the most efficient, though, in terms of miles per kwh—that nod still goes to the much smaller Tesla Model 3, in Standard Range Plus form. But it beats any Model S by a significant amount in rated efficiency.

For reference, we’ve shown the two top Lucid models next to the highest-range Tesla Model S and the highest-range Tesla Model 3.

Lucid Air range vs. top Tesla Model 3 and Model S - September 2021

Lucid Air range vs. top Tesla Model 3 and Model S – September 2021

The results closely align with what California’s Lucid has hinted all along. Last year Lucid presented results of a self-commissioned, independent test that indicated an estimated 517 miles of range. Earlier in 2020, it suggested its prototypes could cover well over 400 real-world highway miles, and recently it presented real-world results in conjunction with a major magazine that indicated about 500 miles or more. 

The 520-mile range rating applies to the 933-horsepower, $169,000 Dream Edition Range with 19-inch wheels. Step up to the 21-inch wheels and the range rating drops to 481 miles. The 1,111-hp Dream Edition Performance versions return 471 miles with 19-inch wheels or 451 miles with 21s. 

Lucid Air range test video - Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Lucid Air range test video – Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Deliveries of those Dream Edition models are expected to start by the end of the year, followed by somewhat more affordable ($139,000) Grand Touring models, which will have an 800-hp output and offer ratings of 516 miles with 19-inch wheels and 469 miles with 21s. 

Dream Edition and Grand Touring models will have the same 113-kwh battery pack, but the cells within are different. Initial Dream Edition models use special cells from Samsung, while the Grand Touring and other Air models will use cells from LG.

Lucid Air platform

Lucid Air platform

Although 500 miles is a long day’s drive, even when you do need to make a roadside stop it won’t necessarily have to be for long. When it reaches customers it will likely be the fastest-charging EV, with the potential to recover 20 miles of range per minute of charging, via a peak rate of 300 kw. Although that’s impressive as a burst rate alone—faster than the Porsche Taycan or any current Tesla product—Lucid says that the Air can recover 300 miles of EPA range in just 20 minutes.  

Lucid is led by CEO Peter Rawlinson, who was the chief engineer behind the Tesla Model S as it neared its original launch. The Air is built around a 900-volt battery pack and has developed its own battery management system and “miniaturized” drive units, plus a Wunderbox onboard charger that helps maximize charging of different voltages and permits future bi-directional charging tech, including potential home-energy use and vehicle-to-vehicle charging. Lucid is also using an EV-focused Pirelli P Zero performance tire that was co-developed with Lucid and designed for low rolling resistance, improved efficiency, and low noise. 

2021 Lucid Air Dream Edition

2021 Lucid Air Dream Edition

The results could, perhaps momentarily, take some of the spotlight away from Bay Area crosstown rival Tesla, which had been collecting reservations for a Model S Plaid+ with “520+” miles of range. Amid reported uncertainties over the timing of its high-energy-density 4680 cell format—and perhaps for other reasons—Tesla quietly abandoned the Plaid+ just before the launch of the 348-mile Plaid and 405-mile Long Range.

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