2023 Lucid Air Pros
– The Air is one of the most efficient electric vehicles in the world.
– The Air is one of the fastest production cars in the world.
– The Air currently offers the longest range of any production EV in the world.
2023 Lucid Air Cons
– The base price is $121,000+ so it’s way out of reach for 99% of consumers.
– My drive time was torturously short.
This story will contain some driving impressions of the new 2023 Lucid Air sedan but will focus mainly on what I learned and, strangely perhaps, what I felt during my brief visit with the new automaker.
Lucid has finally and officially opened the doors to its first service, delivery, and sales centre in Quebec located at 6700 Rue Saint-Jacques in Notre Dame de Grace, a Montreal borough. Frankly, being a Montreal native and having once lived in NDG for a decade, the location seems ill-chosen for such a high-end, ultra-premium brand (if you know the area, you know…). Or is it?
I expected to walk into the Lucid Studio and be greeted as one would in a Benz or Audi showroom wearing jeans, a sub-brand winter coat, and an orange toque. The reality, and yes, I’m aware I’m media, is that I felt welcomed. And based on the Studio’s clean unobstructed and comfortable layout, so will you. Obviously, they might not take kindly to loitering but if you’re truly interested in Lucid, I get the impression that they will take the time to talk to you.
Curious consumers will be catered to by up to six staff members, even if they show up unannounced – yes, walk-ins are welcomed. The Studio features, couches, swag for purchase, and, most importantly, a gorgeous Air premium sedan. The people on hand will answer all your questions pertaining to the car and cheerfully explain how the company draws inspiration from the beauty, innovation, and diversity of its home state of California. The Bear sticker on the front fenders is no accident.
I’ve come to understand that Lucid opted for a traditional (in the segment only really) large four-door sedan as their launch vehicle to create a legacy vehicle. The explanation for the decision was eye-opening: When you think of BMW, the 3 Series comes to mind. When you think of Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class is the first model we think about. Henceforth, the luxurious and graceful Air will represent Lucid forever.
The beautiful Air
Regarding the car itself, the craftsmanship is exceptional, the attention to detail is second-to-none, and the design is as purely functional as it is beautiful. This applies both outside and in. The Air’s front fascia is busy, soothing, and completely in line with Lucid’s goal of building the most efficient EVs in the world. In fact, every surface, angle, and line was created to allow the car to effortlessly slice through the air.
The Air is offered in no less than five different trims. Each has distinguishing elements to identify them. Even so, the “base” Pure iteration is as strikingly beautiful as any loaded Grand Touring. It will soon become instantly recognizable as a Lucid, much like the Model S for Tesla or a 911 for Porsche.
Simple yet opulent
The only compromise made when creating the Air is the low roofline. Compromise because even at only 5’10” tall, I whacked my head on the roof getting in and out. To help with ingress and egress, designers fitted hinges that allow the rear doors to open full 90 degrees, a rare feature. Once aboard, the amount of legroom and headroom is surprising, but not quite as inspiring as the interior’s fit, finish, and selection of materials. One wonderful detail: You may have noticed that all Air sedans have dark-coloured seats. That’s because this is where the action is. Those in the rear are being chauffeured. I like it.
Up front, the dashboard is fitted with a lovely 34-inch curved OLED screen that floats above the surface. On its left are “fixed” functions such as door lock and defrost. The central display is for driving information while the right-hand portion works various infotainment menus that can be shared with the 12-inch 5k touchscreen below. Said screen hides a secret compartment which is actually quite deep and useful. Throughout, the luxury sedan is lined with sustainable materials right down to the open-pore woods which are grown specifically for automotive use.
As with many EVs, the 2023 Lucid Air features a frunk along with a traditional trunk. Both are accessible and well thought out. The trunk itself offers an unusually wide opening which allows access from the side of the car. The volume isn’t enormous however at least two golf bags will fit.
On the snowy road
Torture. Plain torture is what my 20-ish minute drive turned out to be. On the morning of, roughly 25cm of snow had already fallen, covering everything and, in the process, slowing traffic to a near halt everywhere.
The white tester was a “basic” $212,500 Grand Touring. I say basic because Lucid offers a Performance package that increases the dual motors’ output to 1,050hp from a paltry 820. As an FYI, there’s a new triple-motor Sapphire version coming and it’s got more than 1,200hp, good enough for a 2-second 0-100km/h sprint. As tested, the car is rated to cover the 0-100 km/h dash in 3.2 seconds and thanks to the 19-inch wheels (as opposed to 21s), it is the absolute range champion with an estimated 830km distance between charges. With the 21-inch wheels, the range drops to 755km, still besting the competition.
As noted, there was snow, loads of traffic, stoplights, and stop signs, all of which enabled me to hit a top speed of about 50 km/h… There was no launch, no curves, or anything that would normally make up a proper test drive however I can report that steering is satisfyingly heavy, the brake pedal is responsive, and visibility is good. And what little acceleration I was able to experience only served to whet my appetite for more Lucid.
Here are some very quick specs about the car. The battery’s size is a considerable 112 kWh which will charge at up to 300 kW. The LG or Samsung batteries are packaged in-house by Lucid and they work in conjunction with a 924-volt architecture. In other words, the Air’s system effortlessly and efficiently creates more power and charges faster than most other EVs.
There’s much more to say
But sadly, like you, I’m left with more questions than answers when it comes to the Lucid Air driving experience. If the stars align, I’ve been told that another opportunity may present itself in the spring or early summer for another go at the car.
In the meantime, I will continue to follow the brand’s evolution and I look forward to learning more about the upcoming Gravity SUV that, by the way, will be based on the Air’s platform. That does mean we can expect a seriously efficient and fast premium electric SUV on the way.