Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has reacted quickly keep the EV maker’s premium Model S sedan competitive, saying Tesla will drop the price of its flagship electric car after rival Lucid launched a “cut price” base version of its luxury Air EV range overnight.
Saudi-backed Lucid Motors hinted at the base electric vehicle when it first revealed details and specifications of its electric car range in September.
The base model has the same range of 406 miles (653km) as the higher priced Lucid Air Touring model, but its full price will come in at $US77,400 ($A108,349 converted), reaching the sub-$70,000 price after US federal tax credits are taken into account.
The Model S Long Range Plus, on the other hand, is currently priced from $US71,990 ($A100,776 converted) and it is no longer eligible for the federal tax credit.
Musk seized the opportunity to make a joke out of the price drop, taking to Twitter early Thursday morning (Australian time): “The gauntlet has been thrown down! The prophecy will be fulfilled. Model S price changes to $69,420 tonight!”
The gauntlet has been thrown down!
The prophecy will be fulfilled.
Model S price changes to $69,420 tonight!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2020
As of 5:30pm Wednesday (San Francisco time), Tesla had not yet updated the Model S base pricing. It is unclear if the drop in pricing will apply in Australia, although Tesla has stated in the past that pricing fluctuations are deployed by the company from time to time.
If the EV maker carries through with Musk’s promised price drop, how do the two vehicles stack up?
Lucid has drip fed features of its Air range in recent months in an effort to pit its zero emissions offering as a serious contender against Tesla’s premium electric vehicles (not surprising seeing as its CEO, Peter Rawlinson, once served as VP of engineering for the Tesla Model S).
The Lucid range comes with its own semi-autonomous package, and has specification often on par if not exceeding that of the Model S (one might even say that Musk’s price drop indicates he considers the Lucid Air a serious threat).
But there are a few areas in which Lucid has not been completely transparent about the capabilities of its base model Air, including its performance, acceleration and top speed.
It says, on its website, that the Air will reach 60 miles (96km) per hour from a standing start in “as little as” 2.5 seconds, and a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds, but it does not make clear what the base model will be able to do.
It also does not state battery size (for that matter neither does Tesla anymore), or charging speed, although its 900 volt architecture will add 480km in just 20 minutes, Lucid says. (See its table below).
|Tesla Model S LR+||Lucid Air|
|Range (EPA miles)||402||406|
|Performance (0-60mph seconds)||3.7|
|Top Speed (mph)||155|
|Max Charge Rate (kW)||225|
|Price (less eligible tax credits)||$69,420||$69,990|
With regards to the $US87,500 (after federal tax credit applied, $A122,488 converted) Lucid Air Touring and the top end $US139,000 Grand Touring and $US169,000 Air Dream Edition, keep in mind that Musk has another Model S up his sleeve – the tri-motor Plaid edition, which is available for order in the US from $US134,490.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.