This Startup Just Blew Away Tesla's Most Important Advantage

The EPA confirmed that Tesla now has some catching up to do.

lucid motors air ev with plane
Lucid Motors

Tesla invented the premium EV segment. And they have been riding a key advantage that has kept them a step ahead, even as the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have come to compete: battery and powertrain technology. Build quality concerns aside, no manufacturer has been able to match or exceed Tesla on range and performance. That just changed dramatically.

Lucid Motors threw down the gauntlet to Tesla, promising their Air sedan would exceed the Model S on range with superior aerodynamics and a more efficiently packaged powertrain. The Air delivered. The EPA has officially rated Air Dream R AWD with 19-inch wheels for 520 miles, representing a massive step forward for EV technology. The Air Dream P performance version that bumps the power output to 1,111 horsepower earned a 471-mile rating.

The Lucid Air bests the Tesla Model S Long Range by 115 miles. For perspective, it was considered a massive deal when the Model S broke the 400-mile barrier in 2020. Tesla had planned its own tri-motor Model S Plaid Plus with its new 4680 battery cells that it said would bring 520 miles of range. However, Tesla canceled the Plaid Plus shortly before production started, with Elon Musk claiming there was no need for it as the Model S Plaid was "just so good."

We expect Tesla will revisit the Plaid Plus Model S or something similar to battle the Lucid Air in the future. However, that would mean adding that to a Tesla to-do list that includes the Semitruck, the Cybertruck, the Roadster — which buyers put $50,000 deposits on and may be powered by rockets— and Level 5 autonomous driving tech intended to turn Tesla vehicles into a massive robotaxi fleet. Purportedly there's a robot coming as well.

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