The high performance, all-electric Lucid Air sedan has shattered the long range driving record held by Tesla, with an independently confirmed 832km (517 miles) range on a single charge.
This means it can drive 186 kilometres (115 miles) more than the Tesla Model S, which gained an official rating of 647km (402 miles) from the US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June.
The difference between the two vehicles is more than the distance some short range electric vehicles can achieve on a single charge, and it is a new record for sustainable transportation in the passenger segment.
The announcement comes just days after the electric car brand revealed on Twitter that the Lucid Air has a drag co-efficient of just 0.21.
That’s more aerodynamic than the Tesla Model 3, named most aerodynamic production electric vehicle in 2019, which has a drag co-efficient of 0.23.
Lucid Motors said on Tuesday that the Lucid Air’s driving range was benchmarked according to the EPA rating, which is commonly considered top be the closest to real world driving range compared to the European WLTP ratings or the NEDC, which is used in Australia.
The new record-breaking range was teased by the company on Saturday, in a tweet that contained a subtle dig at Tesla, showing an odometer speeding past the Model S range of 402 miles.
— Lucid Motors (@LucidMotors) August 7, 2020
The single charge driving range of the Lucid Air, which is expected to go into production after a September 2020 reveal, was confirmed by independent range testing firm FEV North America.
“I’m delighted that the Lucid Air has been independently verified by FEV to achieve an estimated EPA range of 517 miles, and that this landmark in the history of EV development has been achieved entirely through Lucid’s in-house technology,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors in a statement to the press.
Rawlinson says that the incredible outcome is the result of the Lucid Air’s efficient high-tech systems, including its
“I believe that our 900-volt architecture, our race proven battery packs, miniaturized motors and power electronics, integrated transmission systems, aerodynamics, chassis and thermal systems, software, and overall system efficiency has now reached a stage where it collectively sets a new standard and delivers a host of ‘world’s firsts,” said Rawlinson.
Notably, Lucid Motors says the energy efficiency achieved in the Lucid Air means it will be able to use a smaller battery pack.
This of course makes the Lucid Air lighter again, thereby improving energy efficiency further.
Improving energy efficiency incrementally by reducing weight of components, energy usage by car systems such as heating and cooling, and increasing aerodynamics is something that is also at the heart of Tesla’s approach.
The #LucidAir achieves an industry-best 0.21 coefficient of drag, making it the world’s most aero-efficient luxury car. See how it performed in one of the world’s most advanced wind tunnels. pic.twitter.com/snoV1DYSgw
— Lucid Motors (@LucidMotors) June 30, 2020
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured, says Rawlinson.
“A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.
“I am therefore pleased that we have consequently achieved an estimated EPA 517 miles of range today whilst also significantly reducing our battery pack’s capacity, thereby reducing vehicle weight and cost, and improving interior space. Such exceptional efficiency, achieved through in-house technology, is undeniably a measure of a true EV tech company,” says Rawlinson.
While Rawlinson did not divulge the size of the battery pack, pundits estimate it at 130kWh, compared to Tesla’s 100kWh long range battery.
Lucid Air is more than half owned by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, a fact that was revealed in a law suit in June as reported by The Verge.
The privately-owned electric car brand also relies heavily on Australian software company Atlassian co-founded by billionaire entrepreneurs Michael Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, which it uses to provide in-vehicle experiences such as entertainment and infotainment.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.