In 2023, there’s no shortage of new and exciting electric vehicles to drool over. But few are quite as novel or exciting as the Air, the very first model out of California startup Lucid Motors.
The simple fact that Lucid has managed to start building vehicles and shipping them to customers means the newcomer deserves your attention. In an industry dominated by hundred-year-old behemoths, it’s exceptionally difficult for new companies to set up shop. Reminder: Tesla nearly went bankrupt when it was ramping up production of the Model 3.
Moreover, the luxe sedan is ridiculously impressive. I got behind the wheel of a $180,000 Air Grand Touring Performance (one of the pricier versions), and was delighted by all sorts of awe-inspiring features and capabilities.
The trunk’s mouth is a bit low and wide, presenting a bit of a problem for loading in awkwardly shaped cargo.
Folding the rear seats should make room for skis or a TV.
If you max out the trunk at a Costco run, there’s loads of bonus room up front in the Air’s frunk.
The Air’s stylish interior — filled with wood, Alcantara, and soft leather — is a big selling point in itself.
But I’ll call out a few highlights.
Hopping inside, one of the first things you notice is a sprawling glass roof that brings the outside in.
There’s an extra-large windshield that stretches over the driver’s head, resulting in funny-looking sun visors.
It makes the interior feel super open and modern, but also has a habit of cooking passengers when the sun’s really beating down.
Another high-end touch: The Air has soft-close doors. Shut a door most of the way and it’ll pull itself shut automatically.
There you’ll find an assortment of touchscreen buttons that never move. It’s nice to have the most critical functions at the ready.
Speaking of screens, the centerpiece of the Air’s cabin is a tablet-like display down by the driver’s knee.
It serves as a portal to all the Air’s settings, including the seat warmers, charging settings and drive modes.
But the coolest part about it is that it retracts into the dashboard, revealing a hidden cubby.
The high-def 360-degree view was one of my favorite features of the Air.
The Air I drove had massaging seats up front with several different settings.
They even massage your butt, which felt a bit intrusive at first but is welcome on long, crampy drives.
On top of all that, the Air serves up extremely impressive performance all around.
Its range is unmatched.
EPA rating of 516 miles. The Grand Touring Performance I drove is estimated at a whopping 446.
Tesla Model S goes just over 400 miles on a full
battery, while most mainstream EVs are rated for somewhere between
230 and 300 miles.
The Air Grand Touring Performance’s quickness is otherworldly. It’s like your own personal rollercoaster.
With two motors sending 1,050 horsepower to all four wheels, the Air is capable of hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 2.6 seconds, Lucid says.
What’s more, the Air shoots forward so smoothly and effortlessly that it feels like it’s barely even trying.
The Air boasts a peak charging rate of 300 kilowatts, placing it near the top of the industry.
In plain English, that means it charges much, much faster than your average EV — so long as you find a station that’s rated to output 300 kW or more.
I stopped for 12 minutes and added 158 miles of range, plenty for another couple hours of highway driving.
Under optimal conditions, Lucid says the Air can recoup 200 miles of range in 12 minutes.
BMW? Only time will tell.