The major criticism of electric cars is their limited range. After all, why buy a $40,000 electric car that’ll only go 300 miles, when you can buy a $40,000 diesel truck that’ll go 1,000? Okay, maybe you don’t need 1,000 miles of range, but most electric cars can’t get the same mileage as a gas-powered car. The Lucid Air is set to change that, with its remarkable 520-mile range, but in the eyes of Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson, range doesn’t matter.
Electric car range doesn’t matter as much as efficiency
Peter Rawlinson commented on the Lucid Air Dream’s range in a CNN report, saying that it isn’t terribly important. The only thing an electric car needs to achieve a higher range is a bigger battery, and those batteries don’t come cheap. The Ludic Air Dream, capable of a 520-mile range, is priced at $169,000. In truth, anybody can have an electric car with a gas-car range, provided they’ve got the money to spend.
The same will be true for the Tesla Roadster, which is set to have a 620-mile range. That car starts at $200,000 because it packs more of those expensive batteries inside. Rawlinson calls this “dumb-running,” which isn’t discovering new electric car technologies. It’s just using more of it.
Rawlinson continued, “If I could get 20% more efficiency, I can go 20% further for a given amount of energy. The corollary of that is that, conversely, I could go the same distance with 20% less battery.” In other words, by increasing electric car efficiency, without simply using bigger batteries, the range will naturally improve.
Lucid’s planning for an energy-efficient car, but won’t build it
Rawlinson then talked about Lucid’s future project, the T21, which stood for “the Model T of the 21st century.” It’d be the electric car for the masses, cheap and efficient.
The ideal battery for the T21 would weigh just 275 lbs. For comparison, many electric car batteries top out at over 1,000 lbs. And the upcoming Hummer EV weighs a whopping 9,000 lbs altogether. And while the T21 battery would only get 150 miles of range, that’s still more efficient than the tech we have today. For example, the electric Mazda MX-30 has a 300 lb battery that can only go 100 miles.
But Lucid isn’t going to build the T21, at least not for production. Lucid has established itself as a luxury brand, a rival to Tesla. And a compact, efficient car wouldn’t be the right image for the brand. Besides, the business model is “high volume, low margin,” which isn’t ideal for limited production vehicles.
Instead, Lucid hopes another company or brand will pick up the idea and create this cheap electric car for the masses. After all, there’s a large hole in the market for affordable EVs. And Peter Rawlinson does believe that “we will be able to get to a $20,000 electric car.” It’s only a matter of when.