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How to Compare the Lucid Air Dream Edition to the Tesla Model S Plaid

hmp10

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Step 1: Get a Tesla Model S Plaid -- DONE.

Step 2: Get a Lucid Air Dream Edition -- still drumming fingers on desk impatiently.


We took delivery around noon today on our new Tesla Model S Plaid that replaces our 2015 Model S P90D. As always with Tesla, it's a mix of joy and frustration.

For starters, we didn't do as much driving as we hoped, as we can't charge the car at home right now. I asked the delivery person if the car had the home charging cable in it, and he said it did. I looked in the frunk to be sure and found the bag with a heavy cable and wall connector in it. It turns out that two years ago Tesla stopped including the adapter to plug the wall connector into a 240-volt line, and he failed to mention that. Unfortunately, I was not wise enough to open the bag for a more thorough check. When we got home I found only a 110-volt plug adapter. I called the delivery center to see if we could drive back up to get the 240-volt adapter. I was told the parts department was not open until Monday. It's a $45 part in the Tesla Store. I asked why Tesla was no longer including it on a $135,000 car and was told it's because almost no one used it. That's nonsense, as I know quite a few people with EVs, and every single one of them charges at home on a 240-volt line as do the vast majority of EV owners.

As for the interior and fit and finish . . . . The front seats are noticeably more comfortable than our outgoing Model S, and the rear seats are somewhat improved but still not comfortable for a long haul with adults in the back. The dashboard in our black interior was more handsome that the photos had led me to believe, and the horizontal screen is almost instantaneous in response. Our old car had 19" wheels, and the new car has 21" wheels (with a huge 295mm cross section in the rear). Even so, the new car has a considerably more compliant ride. The interior materials and storage are upgraded big time, there is not a squeak or rattle anywhere, and we have not yet found any issues with gaps or trim alignment. Ambient road noise was noticeably reduced over our old car. Basically, this car will be a very comfortable grand tourer for two people.

Exterior . . . . While a familiar look, the front fascia and beefier fender flares give the car a decidedly aggressive demeanor. However, since production started Tesla has had to add 13-mil protective film to the leading edge of the rear fender flares as they were catching debris kicked up by the front wheels, and owners were already complaining of paint loss. Unfortunately, the film is noticeably yellower than the rest of our white car.

Handling . . . . We haven't really put it through its paces yet and won't until we can recharge without having to get to a Supercharger. However, the steering was direct, and the car seemed well-planted. However, at speed on the interstate the car pulled constantly to the right. At similar speeds on rural roads the pulling disappeared. We've got to sort out whether this is a wheel alignment problem or, due to the wide tires, the car was tram lining in the shallow ruts of the interstate pavement.

Power . . . . Now it's confession time. I've had three Audi R8's (two of them V10's), a Corvette, a Mercedes SL55 AMG, and spent a lot of time driving a Mercedes-McLaren SLR. This Tesla is the first car that has ever scared me. I mean left me gasping for breath and putting me into a cold sweat. And we haven't even been all the way into the throttle yet . . . in fact, we might actually never go there.

It will be fascinating to see how the Dream Edition stacks up against this car.
 

Lucken

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Glad to hear your issues were minimal. The pulling sounded at first like a wheel alignment issue, but perhaps not. I'm interested to hear your thoughts about the yoke steering. I still think that would be my biggest issue with the new S.

As for a comparison to the Dream, I'm sure the Lucid's material will be better still and I'd be surprised if the ride wasn't on the softer side. Although interior design is subjective, to my eyes I much prefer the Lucid's interior choices than the Tesla. I'd also be surprised if the fit & finish isn't better too, but it sounds as if you were lucky in that department...certainly relative to some of the horror stories I've already heard.

In the end, it sounds like you made out quite nicely with your new S. Enjoy it!
 

hmp10

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A detailer is here today applying Opti-Coat Pro3 to the car. He started with a thorough washing and polishing (to facilitate the Opti-Coat adhering) and found only a tiny rock chip on the front bumper. He said the paint was in pretty good condition and required no serious correction anywhere.

Having sat in two beta cars at Lucid Design Studios, I can attest that the Lucid's interior materials and finishes trump the Tesla's, even though the Tesla materials are now nice enough. You're right that it's subjective, but I still think Lucid is the clear winner on interior design, despite being pleasantly surprised with the look of the Tesla interior once I saw the real thing. And, although still not ideal, the Lucid's rear seats are considerably more commodious than the improved Tesla rear seating.

As for the yoke . . . YUCK. Between the two of us yesterday we accidentally turned on the windshield wipers three times, an experience that quite a few YouTubers have shared. I think Marques Brownlee called it right: you might eventually get used to the yoke for steering the car, but those awkwardly placed haptic buttons are an ergonomic mess. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Tesla, if they were going to use buttons for turn signal engagement, didn't at least put the buttons on the side of yoke which operated each respective turn signal, as Ferrari does. Stacking left and right buttons vertically on one side of the yoke and putting them so close to the edge where they are easily hit accidentally is about as obtuse a design choice as I can imagine (until we discuss the one coming up next). If an aftermarket supplier puts a replacement steering wheel on the market, we'll be first in line. And I think the tiny horn button is actually a safety issue. You have to think where it is and might easily miss it in an emergency. Tesla claims that you can also honk the horn by placing your whole palm in that area of the steering wheel. You can, but doing so doesn't de-activate the other buttons in that area. You're simply activating other things as well as the horn. So, just as you're trying to process all the inputs during an emergency situation, your windshield wipers start swiping unexpectedly in the middle of all the other mayhem. It absolutely, totally, hopelessly sucks from a human interface perspective.

Although I'm liking the Tesla Plaid considerably more than the Tesla it replaced (the yoke aside), I still think Lucid is going to win all the design and ergonomic head-to-heads. The big question for me is how will the power delivery compare. The Dream Edition claims 60 more horsepower from its two motors than the Plaid gets from its three. The ferocious power that the Plaid puts down -- and hooks up to the pavement -- is staggering. How will the power curves compare, and will the Lucid, with its 30mm narrower rear tires and 20mm narrower front tires, provide the grip to handle the power the way the Tesla does?
 
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Adnillien

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Congratulations on the Tesla Plaid. I am glad to hear that you are more pleased with the interior of this one than the previous. I agree with your points about design for the user experience. This is what turned me off from the Tesla and attracted me to Lucid. Tesla has revolutionized the EV industry but design for the user experience has been left behind. I see Lucid as having both great technology and great design. I hear people compare Tesla to Apple and I cringe. While both are technology companies, Apple is all about design and user experience. I am hoping that Lucid is following the Apple example. From my limited time at the showroom, I think they are.

I can't wait until you get your Dream Edition and finish the comparison.
 

Sneaks23

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Congrats on the Plaid delivery!
How is the yoke steering aside from the button snafus, is it weird not being able to have your hands at "10 & 2"?
 

hmp10

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I tended to drive my old Tesla with my thumbs hooked over the cross struts pretty close to 9 & 3, so it's really not much different on a long straight-a-way. It's turning that still feels weird. The yoke is 2.3 turns lock to lock, and I agree with commentators who have said a variable ratio would be a great help at low speeds.
 

Lucken

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For me the concern would be sudden emergencies, where years of instinctive steering wheel reactions kick in. I think this is where the problems for Tesla will surface. It's still hard for me to believe they got approval for this.
 

hmp10

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The steering yoke has not been affirmatively approved by any oversight agency. Tesla used imprecise language in regulations that probably never envisioned a steering yoke as an opening to introduce the yoke, probably thinking that, once faced with a fait accompli and threats of another Muck Twitter fusillade against the government, the regulators would shy away from taking on the issue. It's his arrogant and irresponsible M.O. on many things.

The issue is not only the resurgence of old motor memories in an emergency; there is also the issue that many Tesla drivers have other cars, none of which will have a yoke, thus keeping old steering control habits current for those drivers.

For many years, I've always had at least one Japanese car among the German, American, or English cars I own. The Japanese cars invariably put things such as wiper and audio controls on the opposite side of the wheel as everyone else. I have never reached the point that I can activate any of these controls in whichever car I'm driving without taking a moment to remember which side they are on. One of the things I often did in my old Tesla was take the car out of gear when I intended to turn on the wipers, as the Tesla gear selector was in the same place as Japanese wiper stalks.

The yoke takes this confusion to a whole new level for anyone that keeps multiple cars.
 
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