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Lucid Air vs. Mercedes EQS

hmp10

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Mercedes is beginning to release more information about its EQS, which will be its top EV offering just as the S Class is in the ICE lineup from MB. The car will hit U.S. dealerships in August, possibly before Air Dream Edition deliveries begin.

In terms of performance, it is going to tag well behind the similarly-priced Lucid Air Grand Touring: 469 vs. 800 hp; 4.5 vs. 3.0 0-60 times; ~400 miles of range vs. 517 miles. Even the AMG version which is due about a year later is teased as having only 630 hp.

The EQS platform, however, is especially interesting. With its top 108-kWh battery pack it, too, will lack the rear seat foot garages that the Air will lack. Moreover, it appears that MB has fallen well short of the Lucid mark in terms of drivetrain miniaturization and packaging efficiency. The car won't even have room for a frunk.

(I tried to post a picture, but no matter how much I downsized it, it wouldn't load. You can find it at https://www.greencarreports.com/new...-battery-pack-for-eqs-flagship-electric-sedan).
 
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Alex

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Yes, range and lack of frunk storage where 2 items that I noticed too. But maybe the seats and interior will be taller to mitigate the lack of rear footwell room?
 

hmp10

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But maybe the seats and interior will be taller to mitigate the lack of rear footwell room?
I'm wondering that, too. However, in profile the roofline looks more like a CLS than an S Class -- probably driven by aerodynamic concerns. (I've read that the overall size of the car slots between an S and an E Class.)

Screen Shot 2021-03-27 at 8.58.11 AM.png


I've pored over pictures of camouflaged EQS's with the drivers in them. From some angles it looks as if the interior headroom might be slightly less in the rear seat, but from other angles there seems to be an extended "bubble" that might even provide more rear headroom than the front (see below). Could it be that Mercedes will have something like the "stadium" rear seat of the Tesla Model Y that raises the rear seat above the front seat level to get better leg positioning?

Screen Shot 2021-03-27 at 8.56.28 AM.png
 

hmp10

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Mercedes revealed the interior of the EQS last night:

A few elements carried over from the Vision Concept, such as the floating center console. The MBUX hyper screen seems a bit over the top to me. The size of the center display is great, but I wonder how long a passenger wants to have a slab of black glass staring back at him/her. I also think Mercedes' current penchant for leather quilting is a bit, uh, tacky.

The rear floorboard is the same height as the front floorboard, as will be the case in the large battery pack Air. It's hard to tell from the video, but the rear seat cushion seems to be a bit higher off the floor than in the Air. Also, there is clearly more room to push your feet under the front seat than in the Air. (I think this is the biggest "easy-to-fix" issue in the Air's rear cabin, and one I keep hoping Lucid addresses during the production delay.) The longitudinal space from the back of the front seat to the rear seat seems to be similar to the Air, but it's difficult to be sure, not knowing how the front seat was positioned.

If the EQS had performance and range anywhere near the Air Dream Edition, I'd be hard pressed not to consider the EQS as a serious alternative to the Air. However, the Air's greater drivetrain efficiency and stellar performance numbers seal the deal on the Air for me.

I know some people will say that Mercedes' reputation for quality gives it a leg up over a start-up company. However, other than a 1998 Corvette, the most problem-ridden car I ever owned was a Mercedes SL55 AMG. So there's that.
 

hmp10

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The rear seat of the EQS looks as if it provides more vertical drop for legs than the Lucid rear seat (both cars with their larger battery packs). However, this may not be the case. The EQS bottom seat cushion is considerably more sloped than in the Air, with its relatively flat seat cushion. I suspect that the knee position will be elevated in both cars, but the EQS will provide a good bit more thigh support for this knees-up position.

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Screen Shot 2021-03-28 at 1.41.52 PM.png


Bottom line: I suspect that the EQS wins out on rear seat comfort, at least with the larger battery pack in the Lucid Air. (Hate all that quilting, though, in the EQS. It looks like something Lincoln or Cadillac would have done in the '70's to go with the snazzy vinyl roofs and opera windows.)
 

jsharpe

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The rear seat of the EQS looks as if it provides more vertical drop for legs than the Lucid rear seat (both cars with their larger battery packs). However, this may not be the case. The EQS bottom seat cushion is considerably more sloped than in the Air, with its relatively flat seat cushion. I suspect that the knee position will be elevated in both cars, but the EQS will provide a good bit more thigh support for this knees-up position.

View attachment 83



View attachment 84

Bottom line: I suspect that the EQS wins out on rear seat comfort, at least with the larger battery pack in the Lucid Air. (Hate all that quilting, though, in the EQS. It looks like something Lincoln or Cadillac would have done in the '70's to go with the snazzy vinyl roofs and opera windows.)
Does the rear seat in the Air recline? While the additional thigh support in the EQS knees-up position might be helpful, the slope of the seat bottom makes the angle between it and the seat back look very narrow and I doubt I would be comfortable if the EQS seat back couldn't be angled more rearward. The bottom line is that we won't really know how they actually compare until someone who has sat in the back of a large battery Air gets to sit in the back of an EQS. It would be useful to have pictures of the same person in each.
 

hmp10

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The rear seat backs did not recline in either of the Lucid Airs I sat in (one with larger and one with smaller battery pack). The seats were not in final production form, as neither car had the fold-down center armrest the production car will have, and I was told the foam firmness has not yet been decided. However, I got no indication that there was anything in the offing about a recline feature.

The Air rear seat with the smaller battery pack was actually quite comfortable in the demo car -- lots of vertical and longitudinal legroom and a bit of an opening to plant your toes under the front seat.

It's hard to tell from photos, I know, but it does look as if the angle between the bottom cushion and the back cushion is significantly sharper in the EQS than in the Air. While giving more thigh support, this might actually impede your ability to stretch your legs forward in the EQS to open the knee angle a bit as you can in the Air. One thing the Lucid does have, even with the larger battery pack, is plenty of longitudinal room. (I just wish they could cup out the bottom of the front seat a bit to give another inch or two of stretch room as I get in my Tesla Model S, despite its otherwise dodgy rear seating position.)

You're right that definitive comparisons can't be made without sitting in both cars. As it turns out, we might actually have the time to check out the seating in an EQS before the first customer Airs go into production.
 

jsharpe

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The rear seat backs did not recline in either of the Lucid Airs I sat in (one with larger and one with smaller battery pack). The seats were not in final production form, as neither car had the fold-down center armrest the production car will have, and I was told the foam firmness has not yet been decided. However, I got no indication that there was anything in the offing about a recline feature.

The Air rear seat with the smaller battery pack was actually quite comfortable in the demo car -- lots of vertical and longitudinal legroom and a bit of an opening to plant your toes under the front seat.

It's hard to tell from photos, I know, but it does look as if the angle between the bottom cushion and the back cushion is significantly sharper in the EQS than in the Air. While giving more thigh support, this might actually impede your ability to stretch your legs forward in the EQS to open the knee angle a bit as you can in the Air. One thing the Lucid does have, even with the larger battery pack, is plenty of longitudinal room. (I just wish they could cup out the bottom of the front seat a bit to give another inch or two of stretch room as I get in my Tesla Model S, despite its otherwise dodgy rear seating position.)

You're right that definitive comparisons can't be made without sitting in both cars. As it turns out, we might actually have the time to check out the seating in an EQS before the first customer Airs go into production.
I totally agree about the toe room under the front seats. I can envision that a combination of that, a slightly higher bottom cushion and even a small amount of adjustable recline for the seat backs would go a long way to addressing the lack of the deeper footwell, which I still would have preferred and would pay extra for that feature with the larger battery.
 
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hmp10

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The Air chassis was originally touted as having a 130-kWh battery pack. When the photos of the LEAP platform emerged, both I and a Lucid sales person thought the downsizing of the pack to 113 kWh was what had opened up the rear footwell. I was very disappointed when it turned out that the 113-kWh pack still filled in the footwells. I've been wondering ever since where they were planning to put the additional modules for the 130-kWh pack and why they didn't use that placement, wherever it was, to preserve the foot garages with the 113-kWh pack.

Personally, I would have gladly given up a bit of trunk or frunk space to the additional modules in order to get the foot garages. Perhaps putting packs fore or aft of the axles posed cooling, weight distribution, or safety problems? I would even have given up a fifth seat to run a spine down the center of the car to hold additional modules. The Executive Seating option will not be available with the larger battery pack as those seat require the deeper footwells to operate. So, for some reason, Lucid is not using the console spine to hold battery modules even with the Executive Seating. One of the German brands (Porsche?) was originally planning to put battery modules in a center spine but abandoned the idea. Perhaps there is some engineering/safety issue that makes it unfeasible?

In any case, the lack of foot garages in the premium trim levels of the Air remains, to my mind, the only blemish in the execution of what I view as an otherwise almost perfect design and engineering exercise. The more I look at the overstuffed-and-tufted seats, the shiny piano-black plastic bits, and the over-illuminated arcade look of the EQS interior, the more I appreciate the restraint and subtlety of the Lucid interior.
 

jsharpe

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+1 on everything you said. Especially about the restraint of the Lucid interior and the excellence of their engineering (rear footwells excepted). I really don't care for any brand's quilted upholstery and can't wait for that 70's throwback pimp-mobile fad to die. Although I suppose this version in the EQS it isn't quite as bad as that even more awful diamond pattern. Looking ahead, perhaps the next opportunity to alter the layout might be in a few years if they can figure out the remaining details of solid state batteries. In the meantime the Air really does seem to check more of the boxes for what I'm personally looking for than any other EV.
 

Adnillien

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The EQS is coming close in efficiency claiming 4.03 mi/kWh. If that is based on EPA range instead WLTP, that puts it in the same efficiency as the Model S. Not bad but still not beating the Lucid Air. Mercedes is also claiming a 0.20 coefficient of drag which would beat Air's 0.21. I will still take the Air but it is good to see Mercedes showing some very good specs also.
 

hmp10

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435 miles is the expected WLTP range. Extensive testing by InsideEVs puts the average deviance between WLTP and EPA range at 1.14 (https://insideevs.com/news/414786/comparison-epa-wltp-range-ratings/). That would put the EQS range at just over 381 miles of EPA range. (I've seen recent estimates in the auto press that the EQS's EPA range will land somewhere between 350 and 400 miles.)

Assuming the most optimistic estimated EPA range of 400 miles, with its 108-kWh battery pack, that would put the EQS at 3.7 m/kWh of efficiency. Assuming the average deviance from WLTP, that would put the EQS at 3.53 m/kWh of efficiency.

With the Lucid landing at around 4.6 m/kWh, the EQS is not looking all that efficient. Looked at another way, if the EQS had the Air's efficiency, its 108-kWh battery pack should give it an EPA range of almost 500 miles . . . and this is with a 469 hp car vs. the Lucid Air's 800 hp.

Frankly, I think even 350 miles of range and a 0-60 time of just under 4.5 seconds will be enough for most luxury EV buyers. But MB is coming out of the gate lagging well behind Lucid and Tesla in terms of efficiency and performance. Fortunately for them, most of their buyers will know and care more about the brand's caché and perceived quality than about EV efficiencies.
 

Lucken

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Let's be honest, until we get actual vehicles in the hands of testers, this is still vaporware. We can conjecture range & efficiency all we want, but until these cars are tested in real-world conditions, it remains supposition. Continued delays do not inspire confidence.
 

hmp10

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The Lucid Air has been tested in real-world conditions. Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend spent 10 hours in the backseat of a Lucid Air during a real-world driving test in which the car completed 490 miles. Actually, Reynolds and the test engineers became exhausted at the 450-mile mark and turned the car over to another test driver who put 40 more miles on the car before the battery ran down. (I corresponded with Reynolds, who is 6'1" tall, about the rear seat comfort. He said he had plenty of room, although I later found out that particular car had a Volvo rear seat in it, as the production Lucid seat was not yet ready.)

Also, a Bloomberg journalist rode in a Lucid Air during a convoy test on public roads in which a Porsche Taycan and a Tesla Model S Raven Long Range participated. That test included a lot of freeway driving, and the Lucid attained 456 miles (compared to the Tesla's 356 miles).

The 4.6 m/kWh efficiency of the Air derives from the FEV range test done according to EPA procedures. FEV does development range testing for an array of manufacturers, including GM and other major carmakers. The FEV test results almost invariably comport with the eventual EPA results.

Regarding the production delay, this is the norm in EV Land, not the exception. The June and August release dates for the Rivian R1T and R1S, respectively, are delayed dates from the original announcement of deliveries for late 2020. The Tesla Model S Plaid+, which was announced at Battery Day in September 2020 for a late-2021 delivery date, has now had its delivery pushed out to mid-2022. The Tesla Roadster II was promised for late 2020 and will now be at least 2022 in arriving, if even then. The Cybertruck was unveiled in November 2019, and no one knows when it will arrive.

I'm as disappointed as anyone in the delay of Lucid deliveries to customers, but I don't see it as any kind of caution signal about the car itself.
 

hmp10

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I think the biggest question I had about an EQS has now been answered: will the rear seating position be more comfortable than in a Lucid Air with the larger battery pack? And the answer appears to be "no".

Kyle Conner of "Out of Spec Motoring" just posted the most comprehensive video review of the EQS thus far. It included a Mercedes graphic of the seating positions in the car:

Screen Shot 2021-04-05 at 2.28.32 PM.png


As is clear from this, the knees of rear seat passengers are going to be jacked up as much -- if not even more so -- in an EQS than in a Lucid Air. It appears Mercedes is trying to counter this by tilting the seating position into more of a recline, but the forward bend of the rear passenger's neck suggests this is not an optimal solution.

The bottom line is that no EV sedan with battery modules under the rear floorboard can escape the geometry challenges of a low seat cushion necessary to accommodate a low roof line that is dictated by aerodynamic imperatives.

It appears that both Lucid and MB let the boat sail without their finding more creative ways to package their battery banks in ways that create rear seat vertical legroom while preserving the range and current capacities of their large packs.
 

Alex

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I noticed in Green Car Reports they mention:

It’s a liftback. The EQS concept car was a hatchback/liftback, and since then Mercedes-Benz has referred to the EQS as a sedan—which can be a bit confusing. Wuttke confirmed that there will be an impressive cargo opening and that the rear seats fold forward. It’s like nothing else in the automaker’s lineup.​
Power doors front and rear. The EQS one-ups the S-Class's available power-closing doors with something even better: All four doors can open and close automatically, and you can activate that via a central display. As you approach the car, the driver door can automatically open. Via a screen selection or a push of the brake pedal, the door will close behind you.​

I find the Power doors interesting and hope Lucid will bring them back.
 

hmp10

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At the Design Studio in West Palm Beach they told me that the issue with the power-operated doors was with the sensors. The display cars at both West Palm and Miami had power-operated doors, but I was told they were put on the demo cars because there was no issue with the doors hitting nearby cars or objects. I'm told Lucid will put the power-operated doors into production at some point, but I really can't understand why they're having these problems. (Tesla has had power-operated doors for several years that operate the same way they will in the EQS.) I've also read that the cameras and radar sensors used for ADAS can also measure distance to nearby objects accurately enough to serve as sensors for power-operated doors.
 

Alex

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At the Design Studio in West Palm Beach they told me that the issue with the power-operated doors was with the sensors. The display cars at both West Palm and Miami had power-operated doors, but I was told they were put on the demo cars because there was no issue with the doors hitting nearby cars or objects. I'm told Lucid will put the power-operated doors into production at some point, but I really can't understand why they're having these problems. (Tesla has had power-operated doors for several years that operate the same way they will in the EQS.) I've also read that the cameras and radar sensors used for ADAS can also measure distance to nearby objects accurately enough to serve as sensors for power-operated doors.
I’ve had 2 Tesla model Xs and I find the powered doors very handy. Especially now with COVID, it’s really convenient to have the doors open without touching them. The Model X actually has the doors sensors in the falcon wing door only, behind the door skin, so they are not visible. The only problem is, if you park next to a pole by your front door, the rear door sensor does not pick that up and can cause the front door to hit the pole. Not really a major problem is real life.

Now with the production delay, I hope they figure out the door sensor issue. They should at least put the door motors in and at worst case program them later.

Didn’t the car at some point also have a face recognition camera in the B Pilar? That could also serve as a sensor of sorts or they could put a sensor there and it wouldn’t look out of place.
 

hmp10

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They should at least put the door motors in and at worst case program them later.
I brought up this very thing with Zak Edson, the VP of Retail Operations, when I saw him in Miami. He was non-committal about it.

The early production cars are going to have soft-close doors, though, and I think that's done with motors. So maybe the motors will be in the car?
 

Alex

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The early production cars are going to have soft-close doors, though, and I think that's done with motors. So maybe the motors will be in the car?
I think soft close is done with an actuator in the door latch. All the cars I’ve seen that have it are done this way, including after market add-ons. Here is a link to an OEM that offers all the parts to a fully open/close system: https://nuentry.com/innovations/
 
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