- Jul 19, 2017
That's a review worth of publishing in the auto magazines. Thanks you, hmp10!The Lucid Motors Design Center in Miami opened yesterday, and three of us drove over from Naples. The store was getting a lot of traffic. Zak Edson, Lucid's Head of Marketing & Sales was there and spent considerable time with us. The car on display was a Grand Touring in Quantum Gray with the Tahoe interior. We found the car to be considerably more attractive than suggested by pictures. Even the rear of the car, which I find to be the weakest perspective in photos, was quite striking. In fact, I found the car in its totality to be downright beautiful.
It had the larger battery pack. Although I did find the rear floorboard to be too high for my liking, the two other guys (both of whom are taller than me) found the rear quite comfortable. One of them had ridden over to Miami in the backset of my Tesla Model S, and he said the Lucid was considerably more roomy, more comfortable, and easier to enter and exit. (This was helped by the fact that the rear doors really do open to a full 90º as advertised.) I had my 6'1" companion set the driver's seat to his preferred driving position. Then Zak, who is 6'6", got in behind that seat, and his knees came nowhere the back of the front seat, although they were jacked up quite high. The cabin's longitudinal dimensions are as prominent as Lucid claims. We all agreed that the Lucid interior had a feeling of airiness far beyond what its size would suggest.
There were a few things about the car that differ from the production version. The density of the seat foam is not yet finalized, the pockets on the backs of the front seats do not yet open, the rear center fold-down armrest is not yet in the car, the rear carpeting was not sized to production spec, and not all of the screen software was working yet. Several people on the internet have commented that their heads would hit the trunk lid when it was opened for loading. We were told yesterday that the production version will have different hinges that will allow the trunk lid to open further out of the way.
The visual and tactile quality of the interior materials was topnotch, and the interior design is as elegant as touted. Even the sun visors glued to the windshield did not put me off as much as I had expected. The car has a few features that have not been mentioned elsewhere, such as power-operated sun screens in the rear passenger doors and the rear window. The show car had the 21" wheels that were originally on the alpha show cars. I still find them more attractive than the 21" Dream Edition wheels. Zak said they would be available for separate purchase. I noted that only the 21" Dream Edition wheels were listed on the Lucid website as being forged. Zak said that was an oversight and that all the factory wheels would be forged.
Zak gave us some other information that Lucid has not put out publicly. One of the reasons that the Dream Edition will have 1,080 hp and the Grand Touring will have "only" 800 is that the rear motor of the Dream Edition uses different metallurgy from the standard drive unit. That version of the motor will not make it into other cars.
Although there is a tri-motor car still in development, there may be a four-motor vehicle in the offing. As to whether that could make its way into an Air or would be used only in the SUV or a truck Zak could not say. I asked if the tri-motor car would look essentially the same as the dual-motor car or would it be tricked out with a lot of performance visual cues. He said to think of it as similar to the difference between a 5-Series BMW and an M5. I also asked Zak whether, other than for a very minimal gain in torque vectoring control or for use in off-road vehicles, there was really any point to four motors, as I suspected even the dual-motor Dream Edition was putting out power far beyond tire traction limits and that traction control was in constant play under acceleration. He chuckled and said that at the drag strip with the traction control turned off, the Dream Edition was burning rubber past 60 mph.
A very novel aspect of the drive unit that has not been publicly communicated is that the differential is integrated into the motor rotor. The power output is therefore split at the rotor and passes to two planetary gearboxes, one at each end of the drive unit. (You can see one of those gearboxes in the exploded view of the drive unit on their website, but the presence of the second gearbox is nowhere indicated.) I mentioned to Zak that several years ago there had been talk of Lucid's using an epicyclic cycloidal gearbox, which would be a novelty in a car application. He said that Lucid is still working on that, and it might show up in later vehicles that need a wider range of speed. However, he said the planetary gearboxes are good for up to 200 mph and thus suit the bill for the street sedans.
I'm not a fan of any of the three color choices for the Dream Edition, but when we took the samples outdoors we found the Eureka Gold to be considerably less yellow than it often appears in photos and even under Design Studio lighting, which did not seem to be color balanced for sunlight. While it's still far from my favorite car color, it's probably the one for which I'll opt.
Lucid is now wrapping up tool try-out in its new factory, whereby every component of the car is being produced with permanent production equipment. They have not yet produced a fully-assembled car off the production line. They will start doing that the last two days of this month, which marks the transition to "pre-release" production vehicles. The first of those cars will be used for crash testing and turned over to the EPA for range testing. Then cars will go out to the studios for customer test drives and be turned over to the automotive press for testing and review. The first customer cars should come off the line in April.
Bottom line: we left the Studio with all three of us enthusiastic about the car. I am now fully committed to the purchase of a Dream Edition.