On the same day Lucid announced a $77,400 starting price for its Air electric sedan in base trim, which works out to be $69,900 for those owners eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs, Tesla announced it has lowered the starting price of the Model S to just $69,420—and that's without taking into account any incentives.
And while the base Air won't enter production until 2022 (higher grades enter production in 2021), the $69,420 Model S, in this case a Long Range Plus, is already in production. Better yet, the Model S Long Range Plus comes with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system while the base Air is coming with a single-motor powertrain. Range for both models is similar, with the base Air promised with 406 miles versus the Tesla's 402 miles.
Of course, with the Tesla you're buying a vehicle whose basic design dates back to 2012, whereas the Air is a new offering. The Air is also expected to be more luxurious than the Tesla, though detailed specifications haven't been announced for the base trim.
Lucid Air base model
The new pricing has been live on Tesla's website since late Wednesday. It marks the third time Tesla has lowered the starting price of the Model S in 2020, with the price starting off the year close to $80,000.
Tesla fans will note that the new starting price includes a “420,” which was the share price at which CEO Elon Musk wanted to take Tesla private back in 2018. He didn't have the funds to back up the deal and was subsequently reprimanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk alluded to the new pricing being a jab at Lucid with a Twitter post announcing it, in which he said, “The gauntlet has been thrown down.”
The gauntlet has been thrown down!
The prophecy will be fulfilled.
Model S price changes to $69,420 tonight!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2020
We'll remind you that Lucid was co-founded in 2007 as Atieva by Bernard Tse, who left a senior role at Tesla to start the rival EV startup. Lucid is also currently run by Peter Rawlinson, who was a lead engineer on the Model S.