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Lucid’s Tri-Motor Retakes Tesla’s Plaid Record at Laguna Seca

BlindPass

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All Tesla did yesterday was add a Plaid tab to the Model S order screen. None of the graphics changed. The wheel/tire options, the color choices, the interior options are all identical whether selecting the Long Range, Performance, or Plaid versions. The dash layout of the Plaid is the same one that's been around since 2012. There are no aero-enhancements shown. Either the Plaid is going to be visually identical to the current Model S, or this was a hurry-up maneuver to counter something that happened unexpectedly. (Now what could that be . . . ?)

Lucid announced a 517-mile range based on credible FEV testing by a third party. Tesla gave an "estimated" range of 520+ miles, based on nothing.

Lucid announced a 9.912 second quarter mile based on electronic track times observed by several journalists. Tesla gave a vague quarter mile time of "under 9.0 seconds", based on nothing.

Lucid announced a sub-2.5-second 0-60 time based on electronic track times observed by several journalists. Tesla gave a "sub-2.0-second" time, based on nothing.

I am pretty sure we would have heard nothing at Battery Day about the Model S Plaid had Lucid not put out the tri-motor teaser the day before. The Plaid has been in development for well over a year. If they are now taking actual orders for it without revealing specific performance information as they do on all the other models on their configurator, it means the Plaid program is not yet where Tesla wants/needs it to be in light of Lucid's recent arrival on the scene.

In that sense, the Plaid announcement yesterday was a vaporware release and nothing more.
Ha, beautifully said.

Don’t get me wrong, I hope it’s as advertised, with a secret more luxurious redesign of the S that allows that model to have a place in the product offerings. They’ve actually been working on it since before September, but can’t show it as to not discourage current sales until they can implement new production lines.
 

hmp10

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Jeez, it just keeps coming . . .

Autoblog just posted an article that contained this tidbit:

"CEO Peter Rawlinson notably explained the front and rear suspension modules are interchangeable, so engineers could theoretically install two electric motors over the rear axle (one for each wheel) and integrate an additional motor into the front axle."

 

hmp10

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I wonder what was meant by "the beta's chassis was about 60 percent complete". Does that mean they've still got a lot of calibration tuning to do, or does it mean the suspension's basic design is not yet locked down?
 

Hawk

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I wonder what was meant by "the beta's chassis was about 60 percent complete". Does that mean they've still got a lot of calibration tuning to do, or does it mean the suspension's basic design is not yet locked down?
That statement set off alarm bells when I read it. This car / chassis may not be as close to production ready as I had assumed.

I was baffled as to why Lucid's 1300hp could not match Tesla's performance with only 1100hp. I suspected it had something to do with chassis design or setup or both.

Also, I can't believe that they are running Laguna Seca with stock brakes. Certainly had to handicap their times. This is not rocket science.
 
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BlindPass

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That statement set off alarm bells when I read it. This car / chassis may not be as close to production ready as I had assumed.

I was baffled as to why Lucid's 1300hp could not match Tesla's performance with only 1100hp. I suspected it had something to do with chassis design or setup or both.

Also, I can't believe that they are running Laguna Seca with stock brakes. Certainly had to handicap their times. This is not rocket science.
Stock brakes?

I’ve wondered to what degree the 1:30 Plaid resembled a track car, as well as the driver.
 
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NorcalEV

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To me, the Lucid Tri motor is still faster than Model S Plaid in the 1/4 mile. Elon claimed it will do sub 9s which means they have not actually tested it yet. If they have, they would have posted a video like the one they posted with the Laguna Seca run.
 

hmp10

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9.245 sec in a luxury sedan without final optimized chassis, battery management software (Tesla advantage) and gigantic diffuser/aero.
Based on other articles, I agree this track car does not have a final optimized chassis and is lacking in some aero equipment. (I noticed it did not have the rear wheel flares seen on another tri-motor Lucid at the same track.) However, Lucid has touted the sophistication of its battery cooling and battery management software that enabled Atieva to become sole supplier to Formula-E racing. Rawlinson has said that bringing racing technology over to production cars is much more myth than reality, but he cites Lucid's use of Atieva's state-of-the-art racing battery technology as one of the few examples where it is true. Atieva has been at the battery management game since 2007. I'm not sure Tesla has any particular advantage over Lucid there.
 

BlindPass

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9.245 sec in a luxury sedan without final optimized chassis, battery management software (Tesla advantage) and gigantic diffuser/aero. It would likely be < 9 sec next year.

Can’t wait to get these things in a race.

Not that I don’t believe they’ve tested a Plaid at those marks, but what the Plaid actually ends up doing for those that own one was not what Tesla’s “reveal” was about.
 

hmp10

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Not that I don’t believe they’ve tested a Plaid at those marks . . . .
I'm not sure I believe it. Lucid posted a video of its drag run showing the electronic time board.

I have searched for corroboration of the Plaid's sub-9-second time and not found it. I rewatched the video about the Plaid that Musk used at Battery Day and noticed two interesting things. They showed track footage but never showed an electronic time board. When it came to the Laguna Seca circuit time, Musk showed a graphic of a very specific lap time: "1.30.3 seconds". When it came to the quarter-mile time, he showed a graphic of a distinctly non-specific "<9.0 seconds". If they had an actual sub-9-second time, why would they have not given it, as they were willing to be precise with the circuit time?

I believe Musk was being his usually cagey self, showing the quarter-mile time they "plan" to attain by the time the car goes into production late next year.
 

BlindPass

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I'm not sure I believe it. Lucid posted a video of its drag run showing the electronic time board.

I have searched for corroboration of the Plaid's sub-9-second time and not found it. I rewatched the video about the Plaid that Musk used at Battery Day and noticed two interesting things. They showed track footage but never showed an electronic time board. When it came to the Laguna Seca circuit time, Musk showed a graphic of a very specific lap time: "1.30.3 seconds". When it came to the quarter-mile time, he showed a graphic of a distinctly non-specific "<9.0 seconds". If they had an actual sub-9-second time, why would they have not given it, as they were willing to be precise with the circuit time?

I believe Musk was being his usually cagey self, showing the quarter-mile time they "plan" to attain by the time the car goes into production late next year.
Could be.

What’s said 5 years ago is quickly forgotten and clarified in print.

They’ve been talking about under 2 seconds for the roadster since what, 2017? They’ve been testing the Plaid in “public” for over a year.

I should say, they probably have an early crude prototype of some manner that has posted such marks. A roadster with more weight, perhaps. Or maybe they just know they have the ingredients to do it, and they’ve only recently (September 9th) started to try and figure out how to make and sell it without hemorrhaging money.


Tesla is busy, and production lines are tied up with more important things. But the lack of details and cobbled together reveal is telling.

Is it possible that Tesla didn’t earnestly plan to bring Plaid to market, but rather were going to shoehorn in some Roadster tech into a few thousand Model S’s as a swan song? That’s pretty much all we’ve seen so far.

At a macro level, there’s not much overlap to Tesla’s ethos and making such halo performance cars. The value is in the required R&D, and the marketing. Actually making such acclaimed cars is a drag. Tesla doesn’t value the things that those looking to spend $150k on a car expect
 
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hmp10

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Of course, what this article indicates is that these bleeding edges of performance will not be attainable in the Lucid Airs any of us buy and drive on public roads. It's clear from the discussion about tire cross sections that the most limiting factor in all these times is tire traction. Other than a bit more punch in acceleration from high speeds, I seriously doubt there will be any difference at all in the accelerative punch of a Dream Edition and a Performance Edition, assuming they are on the same surface wearing the same tires. Even at its measly 1,080 hp and 5900 lb/ft of torque, I'm pretty sure the traction control system of the Dream is working overtime to keep power cut back below the traction limits of the tires.
 

BlindPass

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Of course, what this article indicates is that these bleeding edges of performance will not be attainable in the Lucid Airs any of us buy and drive on public roads. It's clear from the discussion about tire cross sections that the most limiting factor in all these times is tire traction. Other than a bit more punch in acceleration from high speeds, I seriously doubt there will be any difference at all in the accelerative punch of a Dream Edition and a Performance Edition, assuming they are on the same surface wearing the same tires. Even at its measly 1,080 hp and 5900 lb/ft of torque, I'm pretty sure the traction control system of the Dream is working overtime to keep power cut back below the traction limits of the tires.
That’s what intrigued me about the Roadster. Tesla having tech that tackles the traction constraint. I mean, not to go completely insane on you all, but my grandkids may see a time in which cars aren’t even on the ground for their entire trip.
 

hmp10

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My uncle was the first person in our extended family to get a Camaro, also in 1967. However, as my two cousins were teenagers, he would only spring for the 6-cylinder (250 cubic inch) with the Powerglide slush box. I spoke to him only grudgingly for months.
 

Hawk

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hmp10

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Exactly. Musk has lured Rawlinson down a path where Musk is in his sweet spot and where the spotlight is now off the area in which Lucid can best differentiate itself from Tesla.

People who buy MB S63's and BMW M760's want to know their cars will be powerful, quick, and smooth. But in my experience they seldom make their choices of one over the other based on tiny differences in extreme performance, but rather on subjective factors such as design, features, and brand loyalty.

If Lucid insists on trying to beat Musk at the track, they could well end up a loser. If they can get back to focusing on premium luxury, they will go somewhere Musk doesn't seem inclined to follow.

I really think this has descended into something personal between two egos.
 
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