Nine point three seconds. In the quarter mile. From what will ostensibly be a production sedan. Okay, so the 1,080 horsepower twin-motor Lucid Air you can already order can do a sub-10-second run, but 9.3 seconds would put everything else on any dealer lot in the world to shame. The Dodge Demon can run a 9.65 second quarter out of the box? Yawn. This five-seat sedan just made obsolete any metric of acceleration performance the internal combustion engine was still clinging to.
Even in the so-called “cheetah stance” a Tesla Model S Performance can manage only a 10.4 second quarter mile sprint. So how does the Air manage to not only get all of that power, but send it to the ground? Simple. Just do what hot rodders have been doing for decades. Add more motor!
Because Lucid’s electric motors are insanely compact, the engineers managed to stack a second motor on the rear axle to provide the car with infinitely adjustable torque vectoring, wheel slip management and power delivery. Now, each of these three motors is individually capable of delivering 640 horsepower, but that doesn’t mean that three motors adds up to 1,920. The battery pack can only deliver enough power at any one time to add up to around 1,200 horses to the ground. Not only is that good for a little bit more than the 1,080 horse version, but it also means that in a drag launch more of the power can be delivered to the rear wheels, giving a better blitz away from the lights.
The chrome and black test mule pictured here testing at Laguna Seca has the three motors, and it was recently put through its paces by Lucid engineers, including CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson, at both the road course at Laguna and the dragstrip at Sonoma Raceway.
During my recent tour of the factory, Rawlinson let slip to me that he had personally produced a 9.3-second timing slip in the higher-performance model. Now, obviously I wasn’t there to substantiate this incredible elapsed time, and it’s obvious from the photos that the test mule is fitted with a roll cage and is missing at least some of its interior pieces.
Lucid’s production schedule does not include pricing or release dates for this three-motor monster, but you can expect it to be quite a lot of money, and probably won’t launch until after the bread-and-butter Grand Touring and Touring models are introduced next year. That is, if it ever does launch at all.
Lucid is far enough along in the design and engineering phase of this project that I would be surprised if it didn’t eventually make it to market, if only to deliver the YouTube videos and marketing headlines that it so desperately wants. Everyone remembers Tesla’s Ludicrous mode, but what’s faster than plaid? Maybe we’ll find out when Lucid launches this model to the world.