Lucid Air Will Deliver Late October As Tesla Model S Sales Falter

Lucid will start delivering its sedans in late October, it announced on Tuesday evening, mounting a challenge to its closest competitor, Tesla. The Lucid Air’s street-wide arrival is long overdue. It was announced in 2016, was supposed to arrive in the second half of 2021, and faced additional delays, until finally, Lucid announced its imminent arrival in the third quarter.

How does Lucid Air stack up against the Tesla Model S?

Lucid Air Grand Touring on display
Lucid Air Grand Touring on display | PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

News broke recently that Lucid’s Air can go 520 miles under its top-end “Dream Edition Range” trim. The Model S is only capable of 405 miles to a charge, as advertised on Tesla’s website. For this capability, the Model S starts at $90,000, while the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range starts at $169,000. It’s a considerable hike in price but has a lot more power. Lucid has accepted more than 13,000 reservations of the Air and ceased taking orders of the Dream Edition Range. 

Why Tesla is struggling

Tesla Showroom in Brooklyn
Tesla Showroom in Brooklyn | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

First-quarter numbers showed Tesla slightly down on Model S production, totaling 2,340 of Tesla’s total 206,421, according to CNBC. Second-quarter numbers as of early July showed no Model S or Y sales, despite Tesla being on track for 500,000 units

Apparently, Tesla suffered from parts shortages and price increases during the second quarter, like any other automaker. It’s unclear how Lucid will get around this same issue, especially after it announced the Dream Edition production would be increased to 520 units. Tesla meanwhile canceled its planned 520-mile Model S Plaid+. 

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said Lucid is facing the same challenges that plagued Tesla in its infancy, according to Autoblog. Consumers won’t need to aim quite as high as the Dream Edition Range in order to best Tesla’s range. The Lucid Air Grand Touring variant has an official range of 516 miles. 

Lucid can compete against Tesla

Lucid Air on display in Fremont
Lucid Air on display in Fremont | Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group

Lucid may have a leg or two up on Tesla going into the third quarter. Consumers aren’t happy with rumors that Tesla increased the full self-driving feature price to $10,000, and has plans to further increase the price as new features develop. Along with vehicle price increases, Tesla has gotten rid of features like lumbar support, because hardly anyone uses it, according to Musk. The Model S hasn’t changed in nine years, and the Model 3 probably won’t either. For consumers looking at the latest and greatest cars, Tesla models may seem a bit stale fairly soon.

Lucid Air is introducing proprietary technology

Lucid Air drivetrain on display
Lucid Air drivetrain on display | Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group

Lucid is all about new technology. From Lucid Motors’ website, the Air uses an ensemble of permanent magnetic motors with an inverter and transaxle, creating a 900-volt electric drive unit. It weighs 163 pounds and is compact to save enough space for more drive units in the future. Lucid claims the Air can charge 20 miles in one minute if connected to a DC fast-charging network. Such infrastructure is not a problem, as Lucid is partnered with Electrify America. Lucid has also supplied battery packs for the Formula E racing series since 2018 and will continue to do so through 2022. 

At the moment it seems the iron is just hot enough for Lucid to strike. Tesla is slowing down, some consumers seem ready to explore other avenues, and deliveries will begin in just a few weeks.

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