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

hmp10

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I've been thinking about the comment about hardware differences between the P and R versions. When I talked with Zak Edson, Lucid's head of retail operations, he told me the Dream Edition was going to use special metallurgy in its rear motor that bumped its output up over the motor that was going to be used in the front and across the rest of the model lineup. However, he told me that special metallurgy only added about 15 horsepower but was more relevant to the torque.

I doubt if Lucid is doing major hardware engineering at this point. I'm wondering if they are differentiating the P and the R by using that special metallurgy motor at both ends of the P and using either the original mixed-motor configuration or the two standard motors in the R.

While a 15 hp difference more or less on either axle wouldn't equate to the 178 hp difference between the P and the R, that could probably be manipulated by software tuning. (Tesla has used software to create wider power differences than that between its versions of cars that have the same motors.) Lieberman said the P and the R will have the same torque at each of the three drive settings (670, 738, and 885 lb-ft) . . . but the P will have 1,025 lb-ft in launch control mode. Given that torque numbers get the biggest boost from the special metallurgy, I'm wondering if that's the hardware difference between the P and the R.

Pure speculation, but hey . . . it's the weekend.
 

hmp10

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Another piece of speculation . . .

I just watched a "Transport Evolved" video regarding the battery fires in cars that use LG Chem batteries. As these fires have occurred across several auto brands, around the world, and with batteries manufactured in difference facilities (different countries, in fact) it seems clear that the problem is not the result of a localized misstep in manufacturing or inspection. What is less clear is which of the LG form factors and battery chemistries might be involved in the fires, as that information is being held close to the vest by both LG Chem and the automakers.

The video mentioned that one of the ways that automakers reduce the risk of battery fires is to increase the buffer at the top and bottom of the charging range. It left me wondering if the reason that Lucid has so late in the game bifurcated the Dream Edition and dialed back the power of the Dream Edition R in order still to hit the 500-mile range goal is due to Lucid's increasing the battery pack buffer a bit to mitigate the risk of fire. Increasing the battery buffer would dictate this exact decision: cut power to maintain range or reduce range to maintain power.

I know that Lucid is using cylindrical cells instead of the pouch batteries that have been involved in some of the fires and that Lucid claims its batteries are using a proprietary chemistry that it co-developed with LG Chem. However, with so little publicly known about the roles that chemistry, form factor, and pack management are playing in these fires, i just can't help wondering if this somehow plays a role in this late decision by Lucid to split the Dream into two versions.
 

Lucken

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Considering that a number of these fires have taken place during the charging process, I'm not convinced there's a direct correlation between the buffers and the incidence of fires.
 

hmp10

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I would reach the opposite conclusion. Chevrolet has told Bolt owners that, until the issue is resolved, they should not fully charge their batteries or let the pack drop below 70 miles of remaining range. This would indicate that Chevy, at least, thinks the fire risk lies at the upper and lower ends of charge capacity. One of the things an increased buffer would do is prevent an owner from accessing those upper and lower ends.
 

Lucken

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I'm thinking of Teslas and the fires that have occurred during charging there. Tesla already has a buffer and has actually increased that buffer on some cars over the years. Yet fires persist. You could be right, GM could be right, but I'm not sure this is 'settled science'. Either way, LG has some real issues to deal with.
 

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"Transport Evolved" said they made this video due to the large number of questions they had from viewers about whether it is safe to buy cars with LG Chem batteries. They reviewed the statistics that show fires are still only a remote possibility with LG batteries but did acknowledge that too much is still unknown about the cause(s) of the fires and the types of batteries involved that questions about buying an LG-powered vehicle are not hyperbolic or alarmist.

While it's not a reason I will not go forward with the Lucid Air, I think it's a topic that someone from Lucid should address for potential customers.
 

hmp10

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It's been three weeks now since Jonny Lieberman test drove the Dream R for "Motor Trend". I wonder why no other major auto publications such as "Car & Driver", "Edmunds", or significant internet sites such as "InsideEVs" or "Transport Evolved" have not since been afforded the same opportunity. I've seen several say that they are chomping at the bit to get their own chances to drive the car.

Is this part of a marketing strategy, or is Lucid back at the drawing board with more late changes to the car?
 

Lucken

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I’ve thought exactly the same thing. Typically a manufacturer offers a new car for testing to one outlet as a ‘scoop’, but almost immediately thereafter the remainder of the automotive press gets to review it. Such is not the case here.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing lack of information from Lucid, one can easily think of worst case scenarios.
 
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