If we’re looking at numbers, which we are, then it’s safe to say that Lucid seems to have a really viable Tesla competitor on their hands with their upcoming car, the Air. Earlier this month Lucid announced the expected range of the Air, 517 miles, which would make it the longest-range EV available, beating out Tesla’s Model S Long Range Plus with its 402 miles per charge. Now Lucid is claiming that the Air will be able to recharge faster than Tesla as well, at a rate of 20 miles per minute, or up to 300 miles in a 20-minute charge.
To get this sort of charging rate, you’d need to use a 900-volt charger with a peak charging rate of 300 Kw, chargers that Lucid is teaming with Electrify America to build. These Combined Charging System (CCS)-standard DC charging stations could be deployed at any of Electrify America’s 2,000 charging stations, but so far I haven’t seen any hard numbers about how many are actually deployed and ready, or what the future projections are.
I have reached out to Lucid to ask about this and will update when I hear back.
To compare charging rates, Tesla’s Superchargers can provide DC power at a rate of up to 250 kW, which comes to around 15 miles per minute of charge, five miles per minute less than Lucid’s claims.
Lucid also provided this little video of an Air being charged from what looks like a home station:
I’m a little confused about why they included this video on the press release, as it doesn’t have a plug with the fast-charging DC pins on it, but it may be because the PR also discusses Lucid’s home charging setup, which allows for bi-directional charging.
That functionality would be useful now for Californian customers, who could pull electricity from their cars during the rolling blackouts.
The Air could prove to be a real viable competitor to Tesla, though, with prices expected to start around $100,000, it’s not going to do much to fight the Model 3 at the mass-market level. Of course, everyone’s called almost every new EV the one that will finally provide Tesla with real competition, and thanks to the more intangible advantages of Tesla in public perception, this has proven trickier than anticipated.
Still, the air has the numbers and the look, so who knows?
UPDATE August 19, 1:00 PM: Lucid got back to me with some details of the charging infrastructure:
“Electrify America currently has 456 stations with more than 2,000 high powered chargers at charge rate of 150 kilowatt or greater. Geographic coverage is so expansive that 96 percent of Americans live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger. With two cross-country routes currently available, Electrify America plans to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 total chargers by December 2021. From day one of production of the Lucid Air, our customers will be able to drive coast to coast and recharge their vehicles in less than 30 minutes.”
They also said “guarantee that the Air at least measures up to the Changli,” but I’ll be the judge of that, thank you.