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Johnny Lieberman (Motor Trend) Drove Lucid Air Dream Edition from Beverly Hills to San Francisco

Alex

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This was posted on instagram:

Made it to San Francisco!! Beverly Hills to the Mission District on a single charge. That’s 409 miles with the route we took. Oh, and guess what? Lots of range left. So much so that I’m in the back seat being chauffeured to Lucid HQ, 35 miles away. It’s been a long day! Plus, gotta be thorough. How much exactly was left? I’m gonna hold on to that info until my First Drive review goes live on August 25th. That said, until the human bladder gets reengineered, I’m officially retired from long range EV tests. They’re really dull to do, and Lucid Air puts that question to bed. Questions that I’m not gonna answer until then? And yes, I’m super thrilled to be the first journo to give it a go. Also, why the Mission? Well, Peter Rawlinson, Lucid CEO, is a bigger watch geek than (almost) anyone I’ve ever met. So we stopped by the legendary @hqmilton to look at some candy. Fun! Swipe!!​

http://instagr.am/p/CS0NbuYlexk/
A951CCCA-D0EF-45BF-9BC3-1367BAC3704B.jpeg
 
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Alex

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Also there is an instagram post from @HQMilton (the watch jeweler), which shows interior video and a remaining range of 106 miles. So maybe 409+35+106=550? Or they may have charged at the HQ before heading to the jeweler. Or the order of the trip was different (don't know where the Mission District is). So possibly at least 409+106=515 miles on a dream edition with the aero wheels.

http://instagr.am/p/CS0RJcZFLjo/
 

Lucken

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Let’s call that ‘exciting’, both from a range standpoint and the fact that we’ll get our first review. Dare I say we’re getting there? :)
 

hmp10

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Thank goodness! These things are finally getting into the hands of serious auto journalists. I notice both the cars were running the 19" aero wheels.

Even though the cars are in the Eureka Gold that is unique to the Dream Edition, I assume these are Grand Touring cars with the longer range? (Some beta cars were painted in gold even though they had the drivetrain of the Grand Touring or the smaller battery pack of the Touring.)
 
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hmp10

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. . . I assume these are Grand Touring cars with the longer range?
I am wrong. I just saw Lieberman's initial post before starting the test drive, and he said he picked up the car with 503 miles of range showing. So it was the Dream Edition he was testing.

Can't wait for his review to go live tomorrow.
 

hmp10

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I just read that Peter Rawlinson was in the car with Jonny Lieberman on the drive from LA to SF. I wonder why Lucid won't turn the car over to reputable and responsible journalists without Lucid personnel having to stay with them. Mercedes has let journalists take the road alone for some weeks now in the EQS. I saw one video where a journalist drove an EQS from NYC to Philly by himself. I suspect Lieberman has been in enough EVs to be able to acquaint himself with the car's operation before taking to the road alone.
 

Lucken

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I read that a couple of days ago and thought the same thing. I think it was less Rawlinson being there to help Lieberman out with a lack of familiarity with the car as opposed to being there to deflect any potential criticism. We should be past that point by now.
 

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The review is out, and Lieberman LOVES the Lucid Air, saying it is a serious threat to Tesla and luxury EV manufacturers. Also, some very surprising news about powertrain choices:

 

Lucken

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That was an exciting review to read after the long drought of independent assessments. It seems that Rawlinson was not actually in the car with him, but rather riding behind him. I was actually happy to read that.

Not being crazy into power, I was a bit more concerned about the mention of a bit of wind noise. He wasn’t clear about the wind conditions at the time, but hopefully that’s not an issue. My e-Etron has no discernible wind noise that I can detect, so my hopes & expectations for a quiet ride are high. Road noise is a bit of an unknown given he apparently drove only on smooth roads.

It appears the ride quality is great, but still being fine tuned at this late date. I also like the idea that the different drive modes apparently result in distinctly different driving characteristics. Too often drive mode changes are too subtle.

Reading the remarks regarding range, I’m now less concerned about the delay in the official EPA ratings.

All in all, this was a very optimistic review.
 
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hmp10

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Lucid just sent this out:

Screen Shot 2021-08-25 at 10.39.34 AM.png


After thinking I had sorted out all the decisions required and could now just wait (Im)patiently for my Dream Edition to arrive, I've got to start the perplexed hand-wringing all over again.

The big question is whether, assuming the same wheel/tire combo, the Performance Edition will get the pretty much the same range as the Range edition when it is driven the same way. As presumably neither the weight nor the aerodynamics will differ, I wonder if the Performance motors draw more current at the same power output level as the Range motors?

Jonny Lieberman mentioned in his review that the front end of the Air doesn't stay well planted during hard acceleration, even with the Range version he was driving. The Tesla Plaid has the same issue. Several Plaid reviews have said the car has noticeable torque steer under hard acceleration, but it doesn't feel like torque steer to me. It feels more as if the front end is breaking loose. Torque steer tugs at the wheel (or yoke, in this case), but I do not feel that tug in the Tesla as the car begins to wander out of lane. At least in the Tesla, I think it's more an issue of the weight being shifted rearward a bit more than the suspension can handle. It'll be interesting to see if the front suspension tuning fix Lickfold is proposing will actually tame the effect in the Air.
 

hmp10

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Road noise is a bit of an unknown given he apparently drove only on smooth roads.
Lieberman did mention that David Lickfold wanted him to stay in "Swift" mode on the Angeles Crest highway run due to concerns about the road surface, so at least that part of the test drive was probably on less-than-perfect surfaces. I lived in L.A. during the 90's, and the roads through the surrounding hills experience constant subtle ground shifting that keeps the pavement less than optimal.
 

Lucken

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Lucid just sent this out:

After thinking I had sorted out all the decisions required and could now just wait (Im)patiently for my Dream Edition to arrive, I've got to start the perplexed hand-wringing all over again.

The big question is whether, assuming the same wheel/tire combo, the Performance Edition will get the pretty much the same range as the Range edition when it is driven the same way. As presumably neither the weight nor the aerodynamics will differ, I wonder if the Performance motors draw more current at the same power output level as the Range motors?

Jonny Lieberman mentioned in his review that the front end of the Air doesn't stay well planted during hard acceleration, even with the Range version he was driving. The Tesla Plaid has the same issue. Several Plaid reviews have said the car has noticeable torque steer under hard acceleration, but it doesn't feel like torque steer to me. It feels more as if the front end is breaking loose. Torque steer tugs at the wheel (or yoke, in this case), but I do not feel that tug in the Tesla as the car begins to wander out of lane. At least in the Tesla, I think it's more an issue of the weight being shifted rearward a bit more than the suspension can handle. It'll be interesting to see if the front suspension tuning fix Lickfold is proposing will actually tame the effect in the Air.
Assuming the Performance Edition extracts some degree of range with the same wheel/tire setup, would you stay with the Performance or switch to the Range edition?
 

hmp10

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Assuming the Performance Edition extracts some degree of range with the same wheel/tire setup, would you stay with the Performance or switch to the Range edition?
I have always had an admittedly irrational problem with not having the most powerful version of whatever car I own. When I bought a new-generation Mazda RX7 in 1986, I traded the next year when the turbo version came out. When I bought a new-generation 2003 Mercedes SL500, I traded the next year with the SL55 AMG compressor version came out. When I bought a new 2008 Audi R8 V8, I traded in 2010 when the V10 came out. Of course, range was never a consideration for me in the ICE era.

With range factoring in, I'm more on the fence about what to do with the Lucid. Right now I'm thinking I'll go with the Performance version if the range penalty is no more than a matter of 50-60 miles.

Although I do love to punch a car on an open road clear of traffic and to jackrabbit away from stop lights with a clear road ahead, I am not a fan of sustained high-speed driving and spend the vast bulk of my time driving with the flow of traffic. (If I had the choice of a 500 hp car that would do 150 mph and a 1,000 hp car that was speed-limited to 90 mph, I'd take the latter.)

I just sent an email to my Lucid sales rep to inquire whether, when driven at the same sustained speed with the same wheel/tire combo, the Performance motors would draw more current than the Range motors. I'll post the answer I get.
 

Adnillien

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That was a very positive review. It is good to see non-Lucid employees finally driving the car. I especially agreed with his comments on the interior design and materials. I would have liked to hear more about the ride and handling differences between the 19" and 21" wheels since most of us will not be changing wheels every day. His comment about setting the inside temperature to 69 degrees has me a bit worried since Southern California sun is nothing compared to Arizona.

Since I am not buying the Dream edition, I do not need to make this "tough" choice between range and performance. Lucid's range seems more than enough for my driving, including road trips. I would opt for the performance over the range.
 

Lucken

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That was a very positive review. It is good to see non-Lucid employees finally driving the car. I especially agreed with his comments on the interior design and materials. I would have liked to hear more about the ride and handling differences between the 19" and 21" wheels since most of us will not be changing wheels every day. His comment about setting the inside temperature to 69 degrees has me a bit worried since Southern California sun is nothing compared to Arizona.

Since I am not buying the Dream edition, I do not need to make this "tough" choice between range and performance. Lucid's range seems more than enough for my driving, including road trips. I would opt for the performance over the range.
I would say it's safe to assume that the smaller wheels will give you a somewhat better ride and better range. That's been true with the I-Pace & E-Tron BEVs I've owned/own. OTOH you might get somewhat better handling characteristics with the larger wheels.

We shall see.
 

hmp10

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I opted for the air suspension (which was not standard at the time) and the 19" wheels when I bought my 2015 Tesla in the hope of a more compliant ride. The ride, while not harsh, was still very firm.

After hearing that the Raven suspension Tesla introduced a couple of years ago made a big difference in ride compliance, we decided to risk the 21" wheels on the Plaid. Sure enough, it rides better than the older Tesla on 19" wheels.

Whether 21" wheels are a problem regarding a compliant ride has a lot to do with suspension tuning and damping. The ride along that "Transport Evolved" did a few months back was in a car with 21" wheels, and the reviewer made the point that the ride was both well controlled and surprisingly compliant. From his time leading engineering at Jaguar and Lotus, both companies noted for sophisticated suspensions, Rawlinson probably learned how to get the balance between handling and compliance he wanted -- and he seems to want the Lucid to have a luxurious ride.
 

Lucken

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I don’t think it will be a problem with the ride not being compliant with 21s, it’s more a question of the relative differences in ride characteristics & range between the 19s and 21s. I’m sure both will be fine, but I’d bet the 19s will be a bit smoother/softer than the 21s and with all things being equal, the range should also be somewhat better.

That‘s the general pattern with all the BEVs I’ve seen.
 

hmp10

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I think it's clear that the range will be better with the 19" wheels, particularly as the rear tires will have a narrower tread width. The question still unanswered is exactly how much range penalty will one pay with the 21" wheels.

It astonishes me how sloppy the reporting on other sites has been of the "Motor Trend" review from yesterday. I have repeatedly seen these sites report that the Dream R driven by Peter Rawlinson in the test was good for 517 miles, and the Dream P that Jonny Lieberman drove was good for 475 miles. This is NOT what happened. Lieberman drove a Dream R on both days of the test. On the first day he drove a car with the 21" wheels on the Angeles Crest Highway. On the second day, which was the long-distance run from Los Angeles up to San Francisco, he drove a car with the 19" wheels. Peter Rawlinson was also driving a Dream R with 19" wheels on that run.

Lieberman was very clear. They were in identical cars. He attributed the difference in their mileage to Rawlinson's being better at hypermiling than him and to Lieberman's heavy foot and experimenting with energy-consuming accessories such as the seat massagers along the way.

I still haven't heard back from Lucid on my question about whether, with the identical wheels on both cars, the P would deliver less range than the R when both cars are driven at the same sustained highway speed in the same conditions when both cars presumably would require the same power (well below the maximum power of either car) to maintain that speed.
 

Alex

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I still haven't heard back from Lucid on my question about whether, with the identical wheels on both cars, the P would deliver less range than the R when both cars are driven at the same sustained highway speed in the same conditions when both cars presumably would require the same power (well below the maximum power of either car) to maintain that speed.
In the end we may find that the R and P models are the same except some software, tires and minor elements. It seems highly unlikely that they would expend much effort in creating 2 different drive trains for 500 cars. If they have done that, then I think they wasted their time and resources for this initial release - time better spent on things like software and techno wizardry.
 
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