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Lucid Air Dream sells out as buyers chase range

LONG RANGE: The Lucid Air Dream Edition Range offers an EPA-certified single-dharged driving range of 520 miles (837km).

The battery wars are heating up as Lucid introduces its Air Dream Edition Range

11 Apr 2022

AMERICAN upstart Lucid Motors claims the title of longest-ranged electric vehicle, with the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range offered with a colossal EPA-certified 520-mile (or 837km) single-charge range. And, it seems, range is what everyone seems to want right now: the flagship of the Air family is in hot demand and has already sold-out mere months after launch.


That hefty range number handily eclipses the 652km offered by the 2022 Tesla Model S and the 602km range of the Model 3 Long Range AWD, both of which are the current range kings on sale in Australia (though it should be noted that both of their claims are under the WLTP standard, rather than the US EPA rules).


For context, other big-battery EV options like the Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor and Porsche Taycan GTS are able to travel up to 540km and 504km respectively on a single charge on the combined cycle.


The Lucid Air Dream Edition Range’s, erm, range is a massive step up from what’s currently on the market even when accounting for potential differences between WLTP and EPA protocol, the former of which tends to deliver a higher number than the latter.


Lucid’s big range advantage is largely down to pure physics rather than engineering trickery. The Air Dream Edition Range shoehorns a 118kWh lithium-ion battery pack into its chassis, giving it the ability to store a quantity of energy that other EVs can’t match. The Taycan GTS, for example, uses a 93.4kWh battery, while the Tesla Model 3 Performance has 82kwh at its disposal and the aforementioned Polestar 2 makes do with a mere 78kWh pack.


Aerodynamics do have a part to play, and the Air’s drag coefficient of 0.21 is indeed very low for a production vehicle, but the critical ingredient that gives it such long legs is the sheer quantity of battery cells (which in Lucid’s case are supplied by LG Chem). It also confers eye-watering performance, with a 0-96km/h sprint time of 2.5 seconds, peak power of 1111hp (828kW), and a top speed of 270km/h.


That said, when broken down to a kilometre-per-kilowatt-hour figure, the Air Dream Edition does extract more distance from the same amount of energy than Tesla is able to achieve. For the Model S (non Plaid), a single kilowatt hour from its 100kWh battery delivers 6.52km of range. The Lucid Air Dream Edition Range, meanwhile, travels 7.09km per kilowatt hour on the same test protocol.


Lucid’s tech clearly has an efficiency advantage, not just a capacity one.


Priced from US$169,000 (AU$226,995) in the USA, all 520 Lucid Air Dream Editions are already sold out. Heading to its page on Lucid’s website brings up a “Reservations Closed” graphic, and a link to join the waitlist of would-be customers – or at least those who aren’t willing to deal with scalpers selling just-delivered Air Dream Editions online for well north of US$200,000.


All other variants of the Air – Pure, Touring and Grand Touring – remain available for order.


Yet while demand appears to be running hot for the Air, Lucid’s prospects for the Australian market are still unclear. 


The company briefly opened an Australia-specific page to take expressions of interest – and $400 cash deposits – for the Air back in late 2020, however that page has since disappeared.


Last year a Lucid spokesperson was also quoted as saying that the company doesn’t yet have a timeline for right-hand-drive production, suggesting that local Lucid fans may have a long wait ahead of them.

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