EV startup Lucid has started showing prospective customers the production version of the Air sedan, which the company first presented as a concept back in 2016.
Originally due in 2018, the Air is currently slated to enter production late this year at Lucid's plant in Arizona. The delay means the car has changed significantly since it was first shown as a concept—for the better.
Lucid specifically evaluated the Air's propulsion and battery systems to improve efficiency. The result is that the company is fairly confident the Air will be able to cover more than 400 miles on a charge, and that includes highway driving where there's less opportunity for recapturing brake energy. In comparison, the latest version of the Tesla Model S delivers up to 390 miles of range.
A new video details a test conducted in an Air prototype where 400 miles were covered on various Californian roads, with charge to spare. The prototype was fitted with a 110-kilowatt-hour battery bound for the production Air, though it weighed less because of a stripped-out interior.
A Lucid spokesperson told Green Car Reports in an interview published Thursday that repeated tests using newer software as well as ballast weight to match the production Air yielded the same results.
One of the key changes made from the original concept was a switch from induction motors to permanent-magnet motors. Voltage was also increased from the previous 400 volts, though the company isn't saying by how much.
Increasing the voltage reduces the current requirements, meaning there is much less heat generated. With less heat to deal with, Lucid was able to reduce cooling needs which in turn helps boost efficiency and ultimately range.
Lucid had planned to unveil the production version of the Air in April but has delayed things due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Despite the setback, the company still intends to start production on time.