"When you strike at the king," Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "you must kill him." It's a line that has gained prominence largely through the paraphrased version used by Omar Little on The Wire: "If you come for the king, you best not miss." Either way, though, it ought to be the mantra rolling through the head of every carmaker trying to take on the might of Tesla in the EV space. And with its upcoming Air, Lucid Motors might have found a way to knock the crown off Tesla's head in at least one crucial realm: range.
The Lucid Air, as the electric car is formally known, packs an estimated EPA range of 517 miles on a charge — a full 115 miles more than the EPA's estimate for the Tesla Model S in its longest-range configuration. That's enough to make it the longest-range EV available on the market — or at least, it will be when it goes on sale next year.
For clarification, the Air wasn't tested by the EPA itself. Lucid instead had an independent third party perform a range test; however, it was done by following the EPA's Multicycle Test Procedure, so assuming there was no trickery involved, it should accurately predict the EPA's own results.
How'd Lucid pull this off? Well, part of the credit goes to the company's hard work in sculpting the Air to slip through the...air. The car packs a coefficient of drag of 0.21, better than any other passenger vehicle on the road today. But it's also likely due to plenty of battery power beneath that slippery skin; while Lucid is staying mum on exactly how many kilowatt-hours the car's 900-volt electrical system has to call upon, it's believed to be somewhere between 110 and 130 kWh — a bit larger than the Tesla's largest 100-kWh pack.
The Air isn't just made for range, of course; it's designed to be fast, as well. Dual motors packing a combined 1,000 horsepower should mean the Air can deliver the nausea-inducing acceleration we've come to expect from performance EVs; in high-speed testing, the car also hit a top speed of 235 mph, though production versions should be governed a good bit lower. (Also, don't expect to knock out anywhere close to 500 miles at top speed.)
Peek inside, and you'll find an expansive, luxurious interior designed to rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its ilk. The back seat will have room to stretch out and even recline, with touchscreen controls and so forth for the VIPs in the rear to use. The front seat occupants will have plenty of tech to fiddle with as well, with a central-mounted touchscreen and a wraparound digital dashboard for the driver.
The final production version of the car will debut on September 9th, with details like pricing and final specs to be announced then. Don't expect it to be cheap.