Lucid Motors has taken the EV to a new level from both a range, and sustainability, perspective. Here is what climate conscious consumers need to know about the American-made Lucid Air lineup of electric vehicles.
Lucid Motors makes the longest range, fastest charging, most sustainable electric vehicles around. These stunning EVs also boast luxury interiors unlike any other EV currently available. Call me smitten, sure, but I’m far from alone. The Lucid Air won award after award for 2022 and is seriously challenging Tesla for best in class for luxury EVs.
- The Lucid Air Dream Edition was the company’s first offering, entering the luxury EV market with initial deliveries on October 30, 2021. This EV is still the fastest charging EV available, reaching up to 300 miles of range in just 22 minutes at a DC Fast Charger. The overall range easily rivals Tesla, as do the Dream’s top speeds and acceleration.
- Following the Lucid Air Dream’s launch, the first deliveries of the Lucid Air Grand Touring are just getting underway as of August 2022.
- The Lucid Air Touring and Lucid Air Pure, two slightly less pricey models will be rolled out in quarter 4 of 2022 and the Air Sapphire (the company’s most luxury model) will be available sometime in 2023.
In this Lucid Air review, I will walk would be Lucid owners through the Air Dream Edition and Air Grand Touring, noting the cars’ build, performance, and features from a sustainability perspective.
First, though, a note about tax credits. If you’re interested in owning a Lucid Air, get your skates on. The $7,500 tax credit for these EVs will only be available through December 31, 2022. After that, new rules come into effect and none of the Lucid range qualifies for the credit due to the eye popping price tag for these performance EVs.
Lucid Air and the new Clean Vehicle Tax Credit
Lucid builds its vehicles in Casa Grande, Arizona, in a purpose-built plant that was designed to be more environmentally friendly than most manufacturing sites.
Because of this, and how the company sources its materials, Lucid’s lineup would most likely qualify for at least part of the Clean Vehicle Tax Credit under the new rules. That is, if it weren’t for the price tag of these luxury all-electric vehicles.
With the Inflation Reduction Act now law, tax credits are only available for EVs with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $55,000 or less ($80,000 for electric SUVs or trucks).
Based purely on price, nNone of Lucid’s vehicles will qualify from 2023 onwards, making 2022 a great time to buy a Lucid Air.
My top picks for a Lucid are the Lucid Air Dream R AWD with 19-inch wheels or the Grand Touring AWD with 19-inch wheels. These are the most fuel-efficient of the lineup and offer more than 500 miles of range on a single charge.
Lucid Air Models: Our Top Picks
Lucid Air Dream R AWD
Highlights: With a range of 520 miles, the Dream Air has the longest range of any EV rated by the EPA.
- Official EPA range up to 520 miles
- Starting from $169,000
- Max power: 1,111+ hp
- 0-60 mph: 2.7 seconds
- MPGe: 125 combined (125 city, 126 highway)
- Tailpipe emissions: 0
- Batteries: 178 and 433kW ACPM
- Charge time: 13 hrs at 240V
- Passenger volume: 99 cu.ft. (4 door)
- Luggage volume: 32 cu.ft. (4 door)
An award-winning luxury EV
The Lucid Air Dream Edition won Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2022. This is the first time a new car model has won this award, and the Air Dream picked up a bunch of other accolades this year too. Cars.com also chose the Lucid Air as its best electric car of 2022, noting its “stunning speed,” the “520-mile range,” spacious trunk, and “responsive multimedia system and interior styling that challenges luxury-brand benchmarks.”
the Air was also named best car to buy by Green Car Reports, was a runner-up for the 2022 North American Car of the Year award, and placed in a three-way tie for Best EV at MotorWeek’s Driver’s Choice Awards.
It’s easy to see why folks love the Lucid Air Dream Edition so. This EV shakes up the idea of EVs being, let’s face it, utilitarian, do-gooder vehicles for tree-huggers who care more about fuel economy than aesthetics.
With the Lucid Air Dream Edition, you can feel good about what you drive and look good while you’re driving. The exterior is sleek and modern, understated and thoughtful. There are no boxy headlights or chunky panels added as an afterthought to the powertrain. Instead, the Lucid was designed to look great from the start.
Initially, Lucid offered the Air Dream in black, white, or gold, but now offers a choice of Zenit Red too. Most builds include a roof with a stainless steel look, which adds to the Delorian, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, futuristic appearance of the Lucid. Titanium and platinum touches add to the high-end feels of the Lucid Air Dream.
All Air Dreams have a full glass canopy roof and interior leather with Alcantara, silvered eucalyptus, and platinum inserts and details.
I confess, I haven’t had a chance to test drive the Lucid here in Canada, but those who have all seem blown away by how the Dream handles and how fast and smooth the ride can be.
With the Air Dream Edition P(erformance), you get a staggering 1,111 horsepower – more HP than any Lamborghini and 100 more than the Tesla Model S Plaid. This beast can go from 0-60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. You lose a little on range with the P, but it still boasts 451-471 miles on a single charge.
The R(ange) edition has slightly less HP (933) but 520 miles of range and an incredible acceleration of 0-60 mph in just 2.7 seconds.
Both the P and R builds cost $169,000 as a base price. With either model, you’re not likely to suffer range anxiety. Typically, with other EVs, if you choose a performance model you’re also compromising significantly on fuel economy and range. With Lucid, it’s more like you just get a bit extra of one or the other.
The Lucid Air Dream comes with Pirelli all-season tires in the 19-inch model. This is the most efficient build, but if you love the look of the Aero Dream 21-inch wheels, and only do summer driving on smooth roads, that’s also an option Lucid offers.
All Air Dream Editions come with Alexa for all-voice command. You also get the Surreal Sound Pro audio system specially designed for EVs to minimize impact on performance and range.
Standard builds include DreamDrive, an advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) with 32 multimodal sensors, a driver monitoring system, and a long-distance, high-resolution LIDAR that uses lasers to detect things in the car’s path and assess distance. Expect features such as blind spot warnings, cross-traffic alerts, and automatic emergency braking as standard.
Lucid’s DreamDrive Pro option costs $10,000 more and promises a car that is future-ready for the next level of automation, which may mean your Lucid can drive itself once that’s legal.
An often overlooked element of vehicle sustainability, driver assist features help reduce the risk of accidents. This means your vehicle stays on the road for longer, helping to preserve resources as well as you, your passengers, and other road users.
Over-the-air updates are also free, unlike with some EVs where you have to pay an annual subscription.
The Air Dream offers a few extra indulgences such as heated or cooled front or rear seats, a powered driver and passenger seat and a seat massage function.
Lucid Air Grand Touring AWD
Highlights: The Lucid Air Grand Touring, offering 516 miles of range, was the first EV to top 400 miles in a test drive.
- Official EPA range up to 516 miles
- Starting from $154,000
- Max power: 819+ hp
- 0-60 mph: 3 secs
- MPGe: 131 combined (130 city, 132 highway)
- Tailpipe emissions: 0
- Batteries: 198 and 498kW ACPM
- Charge time: 13 hrs at 240V
- Passenger volume: 99 cu.ft. (4 door)
- Luggage volume: 32 cu.ft. (4 door)
The Grand Touring is very similar to the Air Dream but is a little less punchy and rangy and costs a bit less, depending on your choices. It also offers better fuel economy, at 131 MPGe combined.
The Grand Touring is available in more colors (white, black, silver, grey, and red) and has platinum polishes on trims and painted surfaces, making it a bit more expressive than the Air Dream Edition. For 2023, you can pay an extra $6k for the Stealth Look package, converting the car’s exterior to darker panels with even subtler, sporty, slightly sinister (according to Lucid) details such as black wheel inserts and black gloss and satin trims.
The Grand Touring P(erformance) offers 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds, 446 miles of range, and 1050 max HP. The standard build includes 19-inch all-season Pirelli tires, but you can choose 20-inch summer tires if you really want that Aero Lite look (Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires), or 21-inch Pirelli PZero tires.
There are three interior options made with leather and one leather alternative (Mojave Purluxe), all for the same price and most with Carbon Oak trim and Alcantara.
The Grand Touring includes DreamDriver Pro as standard for no extra cost. Alexa voice assist is also included, as well as the Surreal Sound Pro system and a year of free charging (depending on when you reserve).
Lucid Motors – A more sustainable way to make cars
Lucid was created with sustainability in mind. Its founders want to create luxury EVs that help more people choose cleaner, greener modes of transport. As part of this ethos, Lucid developed a greenfield EV factory on 500 acres of land in Casa Grande, Arizona. This is the first purpose-built EV factory in North America.
The plant was designed to minimize carbon emissions and to run on renewable energy. Lucid has installed a 1-Megawatt capacity solar array in Arizona to power the plant and has a capacity for 2 MW across its sites.
The Lucid factory has an initial production capacity of 10,000 cars each year. The goal is to expand production to more than 300,000 annually. These cars are built to be efficient and are built efficiently. Lucid Air EVs have the greatest range efficiency of any other EV, meaning more miles for every kWh of energy. This means a Lucid EV is even better for the planet than other EVs, especially if you’re charging your EV using electricity generated from a coal-powered utility.
Lucid holds its suppliers to high standards for anti-corruption, business ethics, human rights, health and safety, and environmental stewardship.
Finally, Lucid has taken care to design its EVs for ease of recycling. Though it will be a while before the first Lucid Airs need retiring, when they do, it will be easier to return materials such as critical minerals and metals back to the supply chain.
Lucid’s luxury interiors
The Lucid Air and Grand Touring are beautiful cars, inside and out. Most long-range EVs (looking at you, Tesla) tend to overlook or compromise on the interior, but Lucid goes all out to offer range, performance, and intense luxury.
You can see the craftsmanship, care, and thought that goes into the design, and Lucid isn’t shy about sustainability, holding itself to higher standards than any other carmaker I’ve seen. Unlike many modern cars, especially EVs, the Lucid interior isn’t dominated by touchscreens. Instead, the three digital displays are subtly incorporated to be useful and attractive, without screaming for attention.
Lucid also makes its EVs using more sustainable materials than most other automakers. Inside the vehicles, you’ll find sustainably harvested wood such as eucalyptus, walnut, and red oak. The upholstery tends to be made with alpaca wool blends with minimal dyes and recycled yarn instead of leather. Where it does use leather, Lucid works with a carefully chosen Scottish supplier, Bridge of Weir, which has a low carbon footprint and impressive water recycling processes (but still, presumably, uses many of the unpleasant chemicals involved in leather processing; and leather is still an animal product with its attendant environmental impact).
The Lucid also feels more spacious than a Tesla Model S, despite a smaller footprint, with 6% more passenger room thanks to that 900 V battery architecture. Instead of cramming an existing powertrain into a car shell, Lucid evolved its design all in one, allowing for focus on both the performance and the experience. The result is what MotorTrend called “one of the nicest interiors of any car on the market.” High praise indeed for the Lucid Air!
Extreme fuel economy
A list of the top 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles of 2022, courtesy of fueleconomy.org, includes the 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring AWD with 19-inch wheels in second place only to the 2022 Tesla Model 3 RWD. In fact, Tesla and Lucid occupy almost every spot in that top 10 list, with only Kia, Chevrolet, and Hyundai getting a look in.
The Lucid Air Grand Touring AWD w/19in wheels offers a staggering 131 MPGe, versus 132 MPGe for the 2022 Tesla Model 3 RWD. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 was actually a little more efficient, offering 142 MPGe.
Overall, for all cars and all years, the Lucid Air Grand Touring places seventh, after a handful of Teslas and one Hyundai, but there’s only 11 MPGe between the Lucid and the top Tesla.
Lucid Air Dream Range (AWD w/19in wheels): 125 MPGe
Lucid Air Grand Touring (AWD w/19in wheels): 131 MPGe
Lucid Air Pure: Not yet available
Lucid Air Sapphire: Not yet available
Lucid Air Touring: Not yet available
The EPA estimates that a Lucid Air (Dream or Grand Touring, w/19in wheels) will save the average owner $8,750 in fuel costs over five years. Add that to at least a year of free charging, plus the $7,500 tax credit and you could be looking at a net cost of $70,650 for a Lucid Air Pure.
Where to charge your Lucid Air (plus how to get free charging!)
Lucid has built its batteries to allow for rapid recharging and efficient energy use. You can charge your batteries up to 300 miles in as little as 20 minutes.
The easiest way to charge your Lucid EV is to plug it into any standard EV charger. For a faster charge, use the Lucid Mobile Charging Cable included with your vehicle. This plugs into a typical household outlet or a NEMA 14-50 for faster charging. The company will work with Qmerit to enable owners to install the NEMA 14-50 outlets or a Lucid Charging Station in the near future.
If you reserve your Lucid EV by December 31, 2022, you’ll get one or two years of complimentary charging, depending on trim level, at any Electrify America station. This means free charging at any of the 700 charging stations and 3,200+ charging stalls across the U.S. The Electrify America network puts 96% of American residents within 120 miles of a charging station, which is easily reached by the long-range Lucids.
How to buy a Lucid EV
Lucid doesn’t work with dealerships. Instead, the company sells its vehicles direct to consumers through its website and at Lucid Studios, more of which are popping up all the time across North America. Lucid also has Service Centers and mobile service operations in some states.
See also: Why it matters that your EV was assembled in North America
Once you reserve your Lucid model, you can make changes up until you receive notification of a production start date. You’ll choose your final options then and the configuration is sent to Lucid’s manufacturing team.
For most customers in the U.S. and Canada, local delivery can be arranged once your vehicle is ready. If you live somewhere remote, you may have to pay for delivery.
If the price tag of a Lucid is a touch too high, the company offers loans and leases through its Lucid Financial Services scheme. Note that you won’t be eligible for the tax credit if you’re leasing an EV, but Lucid applies the relevant amount of the tax credit at the beginning of the lease to reduce overall costs. At the end of your lease, you can usually purchase the Lucid outright (unless you live in Kansas or Maine).
Currently, you can buy a Lucid Air Dream Edition starting at $169,000. You can also pay $300 to reserve a Lucid Air Pure, with prices starting at $87,400. The Air Touring starts at $107,400 with a $1,000 reservation. The Air Grand Touring starts at $154,000 with a $1,000 reservation. The company is also taking $25,000 reservations for its highest-priced model yet, the Sapphire, costing $249,000.
Downsides to Lucid
Aside from the price, which puts Lucid out of reach for most drivers, the company has little going against it. Potential customers may want to know, however, that the company signed a deal in February 2022 to build a manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. This involves partnerships with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA), The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), and the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Lucid also struck a deal with the Government of Saudi Arabia to sell it 50,000-100,000 electric vehicles over a ten-year period.
Given Saudi Arabia’s ongoing human rights abuses, this may make Lucid a less socially sustainable option for many folks.
The future of Lucid Air
Lucid Air is the first model in what the company hopes will become a much larger lineup. Right now, Lucid is teasing a luxury electric SUV, the Gravity. This isn’t available for reservations yet. Interested customers can sign up for updates at the Lucid website, though.
Remember, however, that once January 1, 2023, rolls around, it’s highly unlikely any Lucid EVs will qualify for the federal tax credit. These luxury vehicles are priced way above the cut-offs. So, if you want a Lucid, act fast, before the end of 2022, and you may still net that full $7,500 tax credit.
Given Lucid’s luxury range and associated price tag, chances are the $7,500 credit won’t make much difference to most buyers interested in a higher-end Lucid Sapphire costing $249,000. However, if you had your eye on a Lucid Air Pure for $87,400, a discount of $7,500 probably still sounds pretty good.