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Lucid Motors unveils a $69,900 version of its long-range, luxury electric sedan

LUCID

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Lucid Motors is releasing a “more attainable” version of its recently revealed luxury electric sedan, the Lucid Air.

At an unveiling event in September, Lucid said the base model would start at “around $80,000” — without revealing the actual price. Now the company says it has settled on a base model price of $77,400 — or $69,900 after applying the US federal tax credit of $7,500.

This version of the Lucid Air will have less horsepower than higher trim levels: 480 hp versus over 1,000 hp for the top-spec Dream Edition version. It will also have less range: 406 miles (EPA projected) as compared to 517 miles for the Dream Edition. And it is available for reservation with a refundable fee of $300. (In September, Lucid said reservations for the base model were initially $1,000.)

But it also won’t be available until 2022 at the earliest. The two most expensive versions of the Air — the $139,000 Air Grand Touring and $169,000 Air Dream Edition — are expected to go on sale in the second quarter of 2021. Like many EV makers, Lucid is hoping to replicate Tesla’s strategy of selling a lot of really expensive cars in the hopes of generating enough cash flow to eventually produce something more affordable.

The Lucid Air will obviously compete with the Tesla Model S for potential buyers. But the company insists Tesla is not the company’s primary target. Lucid’s top executives have said the real prize is to poach customers from Mercedes-Benz and its flagship S-Class.

Mercedes just released an updated version of its flagship S-Class, with updated technology, including a more advanced version of its voice assistant and partially automated driving systems. But the S-Class still runs on good, old-fashioned dinosaur sludge, and Mercedes notes that S-Class customers aren’t exactly clamoring for an electric drivetrain. So it remains to be seen whether Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson’s bid for Mercedes’ crown will succeed.

Lucid is already working on its next vehicle: an SUV. (The Verge was first to report this possibility last year.) Sales of larger cars and trucks are through the roof, and major automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz have followed Tesla’s lead in developing all-electric SUVs.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/14/21514294/lucid-motors-air-electric-luxury-sedan-base-price
 

WillChen

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Price war? 60k? Run a negative margin and below model Y performance Price to win this war?

Get the interior right and focus on EQS as competitors instead. Blow people’s mind with the Lexus Genesis strategy and true lux.
 

hmp10

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Within two years Mercedes will have its EQS AMG and BMW will have its all-electric 7 Series on the market. If Lucid is still chasing Tesla around the race track, hoping to peel away Model S Plaid buyers at a $30-50K+ price premium, and not going head-to-head with the German marques in interior accommodations, Lucid will be dead meat.

Lucid has put up a new Dream Edition video on its website. It shows a car parked on a misty road in a Redwood forest with a woman wandering around in some sort of trance. The few interior shots studiously avoid a clear depiction of the rear quarters where large German sedans really excel. It's the most puerile piece of marketing fluff I've seen in a very long time outside of GM commercials.

I am doing my dead level best to hang in with my Dream Edition deposit until I can see an actual production-representative car at a Design Studio at year end . . . but every new silly, atmospherics-laden marketing foray makes it more difficult. I'm looking for a luxurious, quick, and comfortable EV, not a piece of rolling attitude.
 

hmp10

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I just looked at the most recent 36 videos that were posted on YouTube about the Lucid Air. 22 of them (61%) compared Lucid to Tesla. Not a single one compared Lucid to large German sedans, which Lucid claims to be its primary target market.

In fairness, Lucid Motors was not the source of most of these videos. However, Lucid keeps telegraphing an intense focus on Tesla with its frequent race track releases, its constant talk about range, and now its price announcement of the base Air more than a year before the car enters production -- a move that seemed aimed at undercutting the Model S price reductions that Musk had just announced . . . and did again to parry the thrust from Lucid.

As far as I can tell, other than the one graphic from several years ago that compares the cabin length of the Air to the S Class and the 7 Series, Lucid has not put out any marketing material that compares the Air to those cars in any meaningful way. Perhaps it is because Lucid originally hoped to launch the Air at a time when large German EV sedans were still years away. Now it is launching the Dream Edition probably with just a few months lead time over the Mercedes EQS and no more than a year ahead of the BMW 7 Series EV and even the Jaguar XJ EV. The Grand Touring and the Touring, which is probably where most potential buyers will lie, will probably enter the market with the German EV competition already available or very soon to be.

The Lucid Air is going to have to match the German competition in cabin accommodations if it hopes to gain a toehold in the market from which to expand. If the upper-tier Airs with the large battery pack end up no more suitable for carrying four adults in comfort than the Model S, there will be little reason for buyers to pay tens of thousands more for a car from a fledgling automaker with an unproven record and uncertain future. Musk has made it clear that whatever lead Lucid gains in range or track times will be either ephemeral or so small as to be inconsequential to actual buyers (as opposed to teen fanboys). He has also made it clear that Tesla has no real interest in going after larger German luxury sedans and would probably cede that market to Lucid and the Germans.

Lucid is picking the wrong battles right now. Instead of trying to beat Tesla at Sonoma and Laguna Seca, they ought to be trying to figure out a way to give the Dream Edition and Grand Touring the rear accommodations of the Touring and the base Air. I know of no other car in which the further you go up the model line, the less accommodating the car becomes. It's good to be unique in some ways, but this is not one of them.
 

WillChen

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I can’t agree more. Lucid should stop worrying about those 0.2 sec differences. I don’t believe s class or big german sedan buyers worry about those 3k, 5k, 10k or whatever small price cut differences. Focus on the application of interior spaces, the comfort, the road noise and suspension, triple pane sound isolation, soft touch doors, the touch/feel and design of the seats/headliner/material (and others like better than dynamic seats)...etc. Again, did I mention the unbeatable comfort?

I don’t understand, Lucid just needs to take a current Mercedes w222 s class to compare and market (or challenge w223). If it beats or just match it (and we are not even talking maybach yet), it would be a successful product already. Having the space size without the right focus would end up with a car identical to a ... Fast Toyota Avalon (without proven brand reliability). I won’t pay 3x for an ev Avalon for sure.

Have a finalized real car with the interior only in the showroom and blow my mind and you would secure the deal. Lucid can run on the raceway for however long it wants to with Tesla but please realize the real competition is the REAL German “S”. Otherwise why would I ever want to shift from proven s class products?
 
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hmp10

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I was surprised at how much information Lucid had put out earlier about the Air that got no mention during the reveal. For example, Lucid once released a lengthy article discussing its work on cabin quietness. The article talked about use of acoustic glass and a 29-speaker sound system with some speakers dedicated to full-spectrum active noise cancellation. At the reveal, which was awash with such nonsense as upholstery stitch lengths and California bear logos, there was no mention of acoustic glass or active noise cancellation. In fact, no mention at all was made of interior noise levels or the interior db metrics that premium cars often publish. In fact, the premium sound system at the reveal was touted as having 21 speakers instead of the 29 once mentioned. Did active noise cancellation bite the dust during development?

Another example was the earlier mention of electrochromic dimming of the canopy. The early prototypes even sported a dimming switch above the rearview mirror. Now we're getting a car with a huge glass roof expanse, fixed tinting, and no information at all about IR and UV blocking or how localized sun glare can be screened except by those ungainly visors glued to the front windshield.

Both the old and new Lucid websites sported pictures of a roomy rear cabin with recessed footwells. Nowhere was or is the high floorboard that is actually going to be in the two top models of the Air pictured, despite the specs of those two models being placed on the graphics of the LEAP battery pack with recessed footwells.

In short, Lucid seems to have gone backward during the development stage on several features that are key to a true luxury automotive experience. I get the impression their attempts to obscure this fact are what all the marketing fluff of walks along the beach, forest reveries, upholstery stitching, and the endless race track videos (Lucid just posted another one since my previous post this morning) are about.

The more Lucid goes on about track times and the longer it stays silent about things that really matter to luxury car buyers, the dimmer its chances become of finding a place in the market between what Tesla is doing on the cost and performance front and what Mercedes is doing on the luxury front with the EQS and the AMG S-73e which are coming out next year.
 

hmp10

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A lot of information has been coming out about the new 2021 Mercedes S Class in the past week. It will have two levels of rear-wheel steering, with the higher level giving it a turning radius of an A Class Mercedes. There will be an optional active suspension which can actually lift the wheels over road imperfections ahead of encountering them. It will have a heads-up display that will project navigation directions well ahead of the windshield. It will have acoustic glass and foam sound insulation to make it even quieter than the current S Class. The 580e will have 80 miles of electric-only range. It will have Level 3 autonomy, including Lidar, at rollout with future over-the-air updates. The interior, especially the rear quarters, is huge and replete with features, including seat back angle adjustment and optional massage. The price will be around $100k to start.

By late next year, two AMG variants will come out with rear electric motors of 134 and 201 hp to augment the twin-turbo V8 engine. The latter, the S 73e, will have over 800 hp and almost certainly be the quickest AMG S Class ever to hit the market. It will have an electric-only drive mode, and there will never be a need to look for a charging station on a road trip.

To my mind, the new interior is a tad overdone and looks a little like the lobby of a Nevada cat house. However, the comfort, space, and features of the interior appear to have stolen a march on anything else in the near-term pipeline.

And we haven't even seen the EQS at this level of detail.

Maybe Lucid will do well to hope buyers will look more to Tesla than to Mercedes in making buying comparisons?
 
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WillChen

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Not many more undecided or on the fence Lux buyers for a Tesla model S left (declining sales). Most Model S owners claim it is as good or better in comfort compared to the S class. I don’t really think most owned a newer one (probably comparing against w140 or w220) and they never sat in the rear seats. I would never look at Model S as a replacement for my S classes (won’t mind having it replace my sportier cars). I agree the new W223 S class interior has some aspect less attractive but it is longer and corrects some current flaws in the W222 S class rear offering. If Lucid changes nothing and does not provide a strong lux interior, I would still build on the long relationship with mercedes and go with the EQS (not sure about the hybrid but 80 miles electric might approximately be enough for most local needs during weekday but I prefer going with my roadster).

Lucid, target the right competition and stop hoping. You are not aiming at lux big sedan owners but trying to convert Tesla model s owners and the tiny tiny sub-segment of big lux sedan owner remaining. (Tesla can easily win with a model S full exterior redesign in 2023 for that group). The big Lux sedan group you are targeting will still stay with the proven if there is no benefit taking a risk on your brand. No, we don’t care 0.2 sec diff against plaid. AMG just needs to go fast but with brut power output and sound to complement it while the passenger immerse in fine interior comfort. Does it need to be the fastest among the super fast cars? No, I don’t think so.
 
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hmp10

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I have owned two Mercedes SL's but never an S Class. However, I spent many hours in the backseats of S Classes during my working years being shuttled around. I own a 2015 Tesla Model S with the rare executive rear seating option, and I have test driven recent Model S's with the rear bench seat. I can assure you that even S Classes from 15-20 years ago were vastly more comfortable in the rear seat than the Tesla Model S is today.

Before I bought my Tesla, the auto press was full of reviews that lauded its roomy interior. Discovering how far off the mark those journalists were is the primary reason I want to see something definitive from Lucid: detailed comparisons to large German sedans of rear room (including both longitudinal distance from the front seats in various positions and vertical leg drops from the bottom seat cushion), and actual production-representative cars at the Design Studios instead of "marketing cars" which may or may not accurately represent production cars.

I was so excited to get my first high-performance EV that I accepted the interior compromises that came with the Tesla. As my experience (and love affair) with EV's has evolved, I now want more than just a killer drivetrain in my next EV. I'm still hoping Lucid will deliver. If not, I'll wait to see what the Germans do later next year.
 
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