Lucid Air hits 217 mph during testing
A prototype for Lucid’s Air electric sedan hit a top speed of 217 mph during a recent high-speed test on the banked oval at Ohio’s Transportation Research Center.
And the prototype was software-limited to 217 mph, so it’s possible it can go even faster. We’re talking speeds that only supercars approach. Tesla’s Model S tops out at 155 mph.
In a statement, Lucid said that in one of the intended markets for the Air, there is an expectation of high-speed cruising that the company fully intends to meet. That market happens to be in the middle of Europe and has a series of highways with unrestricted speed zones.
This is why the company is testing its prototypes at such high speeds. The engineers are out to evaluate high-speed behaviors, including vehicle stability and powertrain thermal management. They’ll use the collected data to finesse thermal and aero computer simulations and to make further performance improvements that will be tested later this year at even higher speeds.
The good news is that Lucid’s plans to make the Air a high-speed cruiser won’t come at the cost of efficiency. The company states that the larger, more powerful electric motors required to reach speeds in excess of 200 mph are also more efficient than smaller electric motors at lower speeds.
The most powerful version of the Air will have 1,000 horsepower and 400 miles of range. This is likely the setup used for high-speed test. The base Air, which Lucid says will start at $60,000, will have 400 hp and 240 miles of range.
Before you get too excited, note that Lucid hasn’t built a factory yet. The company announced last November that it will build a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. At the time, Lucid said deliveries would be able to start in 2018 but now the company has pushed the date back to 2019.
Part of the reason for the delay could be due to the company needing more time for to raise funding for its factory. The Motley Fool last week reported that Lucid is seeking $700 million for its factory which will be built in three stages through 2022. The first stage, which is to be completed in 2019, will enable Lucid to produce around 10,000 cars per year. Once the third stage is complete, the company expects to be able to produce 130,000 cars per year. Tesla last year produced almost 90,000 cars and expects to build 500,000 per year in 2018.