Lucid Motors unveiled the Air in September, which may be the most exciting and innovative EV hitting the market next year. The new car may be the Model S’s first real challenger on the technological front. And judging from immediate reactions, Tesla is taking Lucid Motors’ threat very seriously.
The Air’s most eye-popping number was its projected 517-mile EPA range in top-spec. Tesla exceeding 400 miles with the long-range version of the Model S in June was considered a feat. Tesla, not coincidentally, announced a tri-motor Model S Plaid edition for sale with a 520-mile range. This week, Tesla responded to another gauntlet Lucid Motors threw down on pricing.
Lucid Motors revealed the specs and pricing for the base trim Air, which sound very attractive. That trim will offer 480 hp, a 406-mile EPA range and start at just $69,900 after the federal tax credit, a price lower than the Model S. Elon Musk responded by lowering the base price for the Model S for the second time in a week.
Musk, who named his cars the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y, announced a new Model S starting price of $69,420 on Twitter. We’ll presume you don’t need the puerile significance of that exact number explained. Unlike some of Tesla’s past and present chicanery with the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit (no longer applicable) and “potential savings” calculations, $69,420 is the true base price of the Model S.
Whatever your thoughts on Musk’s waggishness, that’s a great deal for buyers. The Model S, still the gold standard for EVs despite debuting in 2013, is now $5,500 cheaper than it was a few days ago.
Just remember, if you’re considering checking that $8,000 box on the order form, that “Autopilot” and “Full-Self Driving Capability” do not mean your Tesla can drive itself. And Tesla, now sans PR department, has not clarified whether Autopilot is an asset you can transfer to a third party when you sell the vehicle.