With a brand-new, modern factory nearing completion in the Southwest desert and an energy-dense battery pack using round cells, it’s all-too appealing to establish a rivalry in between Lucid Motors and Tesla. Heck, it’s a trope that we have actually been guilty of using in the past. It’s a bad take, according to Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s CEO and CTO. “Please don’t describe us as a Tesla killer,” he told me. “The world’s huge sufficient that we can both grow and succeed together with each other.”
It’s been a while since we checked in with Lucid Motors. In 2017, we got our first take a look at the Air, a trendy sedan that Rawlinson says is targeting the Mercedes S-Class, not the Design S. Later on that year, among the company’s alpha models stunned us by attaining an exceptional 235 miles per hour (378 km/h) in screening Strategies to get in production in 2019 were waylaid by a lack of funding.
” We saw our Series D funding take a little longer than prepared for.
” We started our factory building at the very end of last year, and we’ve pretty much got the building complete– just about recently. If that’s not a record time, it ‘d be really near to it, and I think it’s the really first purpose-built electric lorry factory in The United States and Canada,” he stated, referring to the company’s plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.
With the building done, the next pieces are completing the vehicle’s production and setting up a sales and marketing network.
900 V architecture
That look for financing might have postponed breaking ground on the factory up until 2019, however style work on the Air continued continuous in California. “In some ways, it’s altered really bit, and in some ways, it’s changed completely,” he told me.
” If you take a look at the stylistic intent and the design, the kind, it’s matured like a great red wine,” he discussed. “It’s still the exact same cars and truck that you remember– you ‘d need to put the 2 close together to spot the difference. We put a lot of care and attention into that original style, but it’s finessed, and I do not believe there’s a single surface area that’s the exact same. However nonetheless, it is identifiably a Lucid Air.”
Some of those changes have been to increase the automobile’s aerodynamic performance– there’s a brand-new front grille, and the active shutters have actually moved from a three-flap to a two-flap setup, which should indicate an unrestricted Air might go even much faster than 235 miles per hour, presuming you had a high-speed bowl and some particularly excellent tires
The changes to the car’s powertrain have actually been much higher. For one thing, the Air will utilize a 900 V electrical architecture, higher than even the Porsche Taycan. It’s greater than 4 times less I 2 R losses,” he stated.
Rawlinson stated that the Air has actually also moved to a brand-new in-house silicon carbide inverter, as well as a switch from induction to permanent magnet motors front and rear.
” The key metric is volumetric power density, which is creeping up very near to 17 kW per liter,” Rawlinson told me. “And I believe that’s unmatched– that’s twice as excellent as any rival out there that I understand.”
The Air’s round lithium-ion cells will be made by LG Chem, but Lucid has created and will develop the packs itself. And Formula E has contributed to the management of the packs– Lucid supplies batteries to all the groups because race series. The company’s experience in Formula E has actually taught it a lot about predictive modeling of destruction.
” That’s a foundation of what we have actually done with LG Chem now in our production supply contract. We have actually dealt with them to assist establish the cell chemistry to a much higher requirement, especially making it degrade less as an effect of repeated fast charging. That is very important because the 900 V architecture has been established quite with our fast-charge network partner Electrify America in mind,” he said.
Tesla isn’t the enemy
Prior to joining Lucid in 2013, Rawlinson was formerly utilized by Tesla, where he was VP of automobile engineering and the chief engineer of the Design S. It’s not unexpected that he has plenty of appreciation for Tesla. His objective is to poach clients from the Mercedes S-Class, he acknowledged that comparisons with Tesla weren’t entirely off base.
” It’s a justifiable comparison in one respect, since I believe that Tesla is undoubtedly the leader in electrical powertrain innovation today,” he informed me. “It’s very intriguing that when the Taycan’s rather frustrating variety results came out, Tesla’s stock cost skyrocketed. There were other aspects, but I do believe that will have some bearing on the matter. The most crucial thing here is performance, and we’re chasing down four miles per kilowatt-hour for our automobile.”
Rawlinson believes that a late-summer livestream reveal of the production Lucid Air is likely, with prospective very first drives occurring before year’s end, pandemic willing. I hope he’s best.
Listing image by Lucid Motors