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First Uncamouflaged Drive

hmp10

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Peter Rawlinson just took a release candidate car on a public road test drive without camouflage for the first time:


His comments reveal a couple of things that still have to be resolved, mainly through software tweaking. He commented that Lucid has recently reprogrammed the regenerative braking from 0.25-G to 0.3-G deceleration, which is going to make it fairly aggressive.

A bystander asked him about the car, and he said it was a 1,000-hp car with 500 miles of range. I assume he was doing some rounding, unless the final output and range specs have changed a bit? (The car in the video did not have the 19" aero wheels that are supposedly required to give the Dream Edition 503 miles of range.)

(After seeing the Eureka Gold car at the West Palm Beach Design Studio, I configured my order with a black exterior. Seeing this black car on the road in varying lighting has confirmed that choice for me.)
 
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hmp10

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From the photos I saw, I thought the Santa Monica interior looked a bit washed out. But when we saw it in the flesh in West Palm Beach, it was my favorite interior -- subtle but very striking. The satiny, deeply-textured eucalyptus wood was the nicest wood trim I've ever seen in a car. I also liked the Eureka Gold exterior on that car better than I thought I would. The problem was that it clashed with the interior. As all Dream Editions will come only with the Santa Monica interior, that left me with an exterior choice of only black or white. Fortunately, the car is a killer in black.
 

Adnillien

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Since I am not looking at a dream edition, I have a few more exterior and interior color options. Living in Phoenix, I have always liked white. I can't wait to see one in person. Maybe I will change my mind on color.
 

Lucken

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Although I have a Lucid on preorder, I have a question for the group based on recent concerns I have relative to my Jaguar I-Pace and the financial instability of JLR.

Is anyone concerned about purchasing a Lucid only to have the company determine a short time later (e.g. 1-3 years) they can’t survive?
 

hmp10

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I'm not concerned about the next few years. The Air is really a showcase for their technology, and I doubt they expect it to fund the future of the company. I believe the Saudi PIF stake is large enough that they will infuse the necessary cash to keep them going at least to the point that they get a couple more products on the market. It is those subsequent, more mainstream products that will be the real test of Lucid's long-term viability, and we probably won't know the answer to that for several more years.

Personally, I'm not worried about Lucid's disappearing during the time frame (3-5 years) in which I typically keep a car and need it serviced. The risk is more in resale value as the company's long-term prospects come more clearly into focus.

I took the same risk when I bought my Tesla in 2015 while Tesla was still bleeding cash. When I sell or trade it when my Rivian and Lucid arrive, it'll be going to a strong resale market for Teslas.

As Tesla has shown, you only have to snag a tiny slice of the world's auto market to become a roaring success if you have the right technology . . . and the EV market is on the verge of a global explosion.
 

Adnillien

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Is anyone concerned about purchasing a Lucid only to have the company determine a short time later (e.g. 1-3 years) they can’t survive?
This is a good question and is a small concern for me and the current prices are a significant amount of money for me. The recent LG Chem battery fire recalls on Hyundai and Chevy Bolt highlight the concern. Maybe I am just trying to justify risk to myself, I agree with hmp10 on the main risk being resale. It is very unlikely that the car would not survive. Lucid has a bit of battery experience from their prior life as Atieva and making batteries for racing. I suspect those batteries were abused more than in normal driving even if battery life was not a large concern. Lucid is not rapidly ramping production so their will not be a large liability out there in case something goes wrong. Lucid is well funded and could manage even a serious issue in the first few years.

I am very interested in how the Dream Edition buyers like their cars and what the real world range is. This will impact my decision on which version (Grand Touring or Touring) to buy.
 

hmp10

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There have already been at least a couple of real-world range tests of the Lucid Air in which independent auto journalists participated. Basically, the car did well -- 456 miles in one test and 490 miles in the other. In fact, in the second test, the two test engineers and the Motor Trend passenger became exhausted before the battery did. They abandoned the test at 450 miles and turned the car over to another test driver who put 40 more miles on the car before the battery died.



By the way, Lucid has told me that after production starts they will offer a Grand Touring with an option for the smaller battery pack. So, if you want the trim level of a Grand Touring but the smaller battery pack, you won't necessarily have to get a Touring model. (The smaller battery pack does reduce the power output from 800hp to 620hp, however.)
 

Lucken

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I could somehow struggle by with 620hp. ;)

But I'll wait for the Air Pure. Call me cheap.
 

hmp10

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The Pure is slated for 480 hp, I believe. The Mercedes EQS is launching with 469 hp as the sole drivetrain and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. You'll likely get left at few stoplights in either car.

It's absolutely amazing how EVs have recalibrated our perception of auto performance. Just a few years ago, cars over 400 hp were considered beasts . . . and cars over 1,000 hp would have been laughed off as pipe dreams by the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. It took Bugatti with a 16-cylinder quad-turbo finally to pull it off (at over $1 million).

In "EV land" we are now awaiting the arrival of four-door sedans with 0-60 times dipping below 2 seconds and top speeds limited only by tire technology. I'm waiting on delivery in August of a three-ton SUV that will hit 60 in 3 seconds.

As I near my 70th birthday, my delight at having lived to see this revolution -- and drive some of its products -- is almost unbounded.
 

hmp10

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I did a little digging to get some context for the 0.3 g of regenerative braking that the Lucid Air now has when in "sport" mode.. That's the same level of regen in an Audi E-Tron and in a Tesla Model 3 on its higher regen setting. If the regen braking is as easy to modulate and the transition from regen to friction braking in the Lucid is as seamless as in a Tesla, then I think Lucid's regenerative braking is going to have a lot of fans.
 

Adnillien

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I was just watching the video again and notices that the roof trim appears to be black rather than platinum. Is this just my imagination? The Lucid configuration tool does not show this option but I like it. Any idea if this is an available option?
 

hmp10

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I assume you mean the exterior roof rail? (The interior is the Santa Monica.)

I relooked at the video after your post and see what you mean. The roof rail does appear black in a lot of the shots. However, I did a screen capture of the car catching the sunlight from the side, and the roof rail appears to be the brushed aluminum:

Screen Shot 2021-03-14 at 2.13.05 PM.png


You could always have a color wrap put on the roof rail to make it black (or pretty much any other color you wanted, including a carbon fiber look).
 

hmp10

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I've seen the platinum roof rails on two cars: the Quantum Gray in Miami and the Eureka Gold in West Palm Beach. I thought it looked great on the gray car but was less of a fan of it on the gold car. Even though one thinks of it as a neutral element, it does seem to work better on some colors than on others.

Although I like the idea of a two-toned car (and that Lucids harken back to the '50's in some design details), I'm a little worried about the strong contrast of the platinum with the black exterior I'm getting. (I wish the Quantum Gray were available on the Dream Edition.)

In a way, I'm glad about the confusion from the video about the rail color and hoping it means that some lighting conditions will lessen the contrast.

I was wondering something else about the video. The car seemed to be a Dream Edition, as it had the Santa Monica interior that is unique to the Dream Edition, and Rawlinson told the bystander that the car had 1,000 hp. But it had the 21" wheels of the Grand Touring. If this is a release candidate Dream Edition, I wonder why it wasn't running the Dream Edition wheels.

Zak Edson told me in Miami that the wheels seen in the video would be available as an after-delivery purchase. Since they're going to be on the Grand Touring that will have the highest range of any version, I have to assume they're at least as aerodynamic as the Dream Edition wheels. I wonder why they won't be offered as an option at order instead of only through an after-sale.

The car in the Miami Design Studio had the wheels seen in this video, and the car in West Palm Beach had the Dream Edition wheels. While I liked the Dream Edition wheels better than I thought I would, I still think the wheels in this video are the best-looking ones in the lineup.
 

Adnillien

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Peter Rawlinson takes a Grand Touring Air around New York. It is probably not as interesting as the 1st drive in California. Again it is a black car and roof looks black instead of polished aluminum.

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson Takes The Air For A Spin Around Manhattan
 

hmp10

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Perhaps because of lighting conditions it really is hard to see the brushed aluminum tint of the roof rails on this car. There are only a couple of frames where you can see they are not black . . . but only just.

Frankly, I'm glad the car photographed this way. I'm getting a black car and have been worried that there is too much contrast between the black and the aluminum. However, seeing the car with what look like black roof rails really helps me understand how much the contrast contributes to the distinctive look of the car.

I, too, found this video less interesting than the earlier one. I'm also surprised that there are things such as HVAC toggle switch tactility that are still up in the air. This, on top of the disappearance of a raft of specs from the website in the past few days, really makes me wonder if this car will see production even late this year. With the August arrival of the Mercedes EQS, Lucid has already lost its claim to be the first true luxury EV. I wonder how much additional ground it's going to lose to other luxury newcomers as the year wears on, such as the Audi E-Tron GT. It is one thing to commit almost $170,000 to a car when it looks like nothing remotely like it is in the offing. It's another to spend that kind of money on a newly-launched and unproven brand when a Mercedes S-Class EV is available from a dealer around the corner for probably tens of thousands less.

Yes, it's good to sweat the details. But sweat eventually starts to smell.
 

WildRide47

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I was also on the borderline about ordering a Dream Edition. But I held off, because Lucid offered no way for me to see or drive the car living in Portland Oregon prior to a deposit. I was not about to buy a car blind, no matter how good the specs were, unless it was from an established brand where I have had a previous relationship. That being said, I still am very interested in purchasing the top tier trim(in this case the Grand Touring since the Dream Edition is sold out.). My timeline is to purchase a 2023 model, hoping the car is out at least 1 year to work out any problems in that first year. I had previously ordered a Porsche Taycan Turbo, but cancelled my order because of the poor range when it was finally released. I agree that Lucid needs to get its act together and start being more transparent in its intentions on what the Air will come with. I don't think even they know at this time. The more time they wait, the more likely the competition may very well pass them by and the harder it will be to compete. I hope that is not the case. The Air at this time is miles ahead of the competition. At least on paper.
 

Alex

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The first thing I noticed in this video was the bad trim (around time mark 4:45). I would think they would have those things figured out by now.
Lucid air trim.jpg
 

hmp10

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I can't figure out what's going on with this car. Rawlinson said it was in Grand Touring trim. I'm beginning to think Adnillien is right that the roof rails really are black on this car. The tops of the outside mirrors are supposed to be brushed aluminum in the cars with aluminum roof rails, but these mirrors sure look to be black on top.

"Transport Evolved" put up a ride-along video yesterday of a Beta 2 version car driven by David Lickfold from Lucid's Chassis and Vehicle Dynamics group. They said that although Gamma (release candidate) cars are on the road, none were available for this ride-along as they were all tied up in testing. I'm wondering if the Rawlinson New York video was made with a Beta car instead of a Gamma car? As CEO, I'm sure he could snag a Gamma car if he wanted, but "Transport Evolved" is a highly-watched car channel. If they wouldn't free up a Gamma car for that couple of hours of a drive-along, maybe Rawlinson didn't want to disrupt testing for a demo video, either.

In the "Transport Evolved" video, the reviewer Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield noticed pronounced wind noise at certain points on the car. Lickfold told her that has been eliminated in later versions of the car. He later said there is still an internal debate about how to tune the chassis and drivetrain for sport mode, with some favoring subtle changes that still keep a focus on comfort and others favoring a more aggressive tune. He added that, while most of the remaining chassis tuning changes could be made with software, a few (such as bushing compliance and spring rates) would require hardware changes.

in any case, Lucid's attempts to be a bit transparent may be beginning to backfire. The car was supposed to be delivered in late 2020. Then it became Q2 2021. Now it's pushed out again with time windows widening from quarters to semi-annums. Teaser videos of cars still in development -- and with obvious flaws -- at this late stage are not really helping the brand.

I suspected that the conversation with Alan Mulalley that supposedly triggered the decision to delay production was just a cover story for the real situation: in this month in which customer production was finally to start, a lot of work on issues even as fundamental as suspension components remains to be done on this car to get it production-ready.
 
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