Lucid Motors has revealed that its upcoming Lucid Air electric sedan will be able to recharge at a rate of 32km per minute and will also be able to discharge energy into the grid or home.
These are some seriously juicy tidbits about the Lucid Air, which will be unveiled in coming weeks and is touted as a rival to the Tesla Model S, the benchmark for all aspiring EV makers.
In a new announcement on Thursday (US time), the Saudi-backed electric vehicle startup said that the Lucid Air will be the “fastest charging electric vehicle ever offered”, thanks to its “highly sophisticated battery and thermal management system, and the Lucid Air’s incredible powertrain efficiency.”
According to the EV startup, the Lucid Air – which last Wednesday we reported will also shatter Tesla’s industry-leading driving range and aerodynamics, and in July that it will include semi-autonomous driving tech – will be able to charge at a maximum rate of 300kW, meaning that it will be able to top up 480km driving range in just 20 minutes.
This impressive rate of charging is made possible by a 900V electrical architecture (most EVs are 400V), and is faster than the 270kW charging of the 800V Porsche Taycan (which although capable of a 350kW max charge rate, is software limited until further notice).
The fastest charge rate of any Tesla vehicle is 250kW, which is achievable at the EV maker’s V3 supercharging stations and ultra-rapid DC fast chargers such as those made by Australia’s Tritium and Swiss electrification giant ABB.
“We designed every aspect of the Lucid Air and its platform in-house to be hyper-efficient, from the powertrain to the aerodynamics, and we’ve set several new benchmarks through these efforts including the longest range EV with an estimated EPA range of 517 miles,” said Eric Bach, VP of hardware engineering for Lucid Motors in a statement.
More than half-owned by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, it is clear that Lucid Motors has its eye on the premium EV market prize.
This is reflected in the announcement that it will provide two-way, or bidirectional, charging – also known as Vehicle-to-X (V2X), x being the grid (V2G), or the home (V2H), or business or any other building fitted with the correct equipment to receive a charge from the car.
It is a technology that is being tested in many countries, including this trial of 51 Nissan Leafs in the ACT underwritten by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
A number of car makers either already use the technology in their electric cars – such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid Outlander – or are looking to use it – such as Audi.
The Nissan Ariya was the first future model announced to include V2X technology using the CCS charging standard, heralding the road to level 4 (V2G) charging as outlined in this article by Bryce Gaton.
But this is not the road for Tesla, it would seem.
Although an electrical engineer that tore down a Model 3 chip board in May claimed he had found evidence Tesla was preparing its cars for the introduction of V2G, it was later reported that he had missed some important distinctions on the circuitry diagram (see bottom of this article).
As Tesla has its own energy storage products, that makes sense.
But Lucid Motors says it also will develop energy storage products in the future (more on that below), so its inclusion of the technology is of great significance.
Dubbed its two-way charging box “Wunderbox”, Lucid Motors is placing its bets on sidestepping Tesla’s dominance – once it actually gets some vehicles on the market.
“With our ultra-high voltage 900V+ electrical architecture and the proprietary Wunderbox, we have significantly increased the speed of energy getting into, around, and even out of the vehicle, delivering the world’s fastest charging EV packed with future-ready charging features.,” says Bach.
Other specs revealed by Lucid Motors in Thursday’s announcement are that the Lucid Air will be able to charge on a three-phase AC network at up to 19.2kW rate, and of course its impressive, and independently test, 517km driving range and 0.21 drag coefficient.
Lucid Air also says that it has teamed up with Electrify America to give buyers of the Lucid Air three years’ free ultra-rapid charging.
To enable V2H charging capabilities, it has also developed the Lucid Connected Home Charging Station, a proprietary AC bi-directional charging station.
In the future, it will introduce its own static energy storage systems (dubbed “ESS”) – and this is another area where Lucid Motors’ approach is interesting.
According to the EV startup, its ESS products will “create a sustainable lifecycle for re-purposing Lucid Air batteries”, so the company can controbute “to a world where sustainable storage of energy will have tremendous advantages for peak usage, balanced grids, cost savings, and for the environment”.
Now all the EV startup – which is now 8 months into the build of its factory in Arizona – has to do is make it happen. It says it already has a working prototype at its Silicon Valley HQ, so this appears to have promise.
It is understood that the Lucid Air will go on sale at around $US60,000 ($A83,280 converted), with first deliveries in the US in early 2021.
It is already open for reservations for customers in the US, Canada and “select European and Middle Eastern countries”. Australian drivers can for now only join a waitlist.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter 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.