Lucid Air luxury electric car: Bloomberg gets brief ride


Lucid Air

Lucid Air

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When it comes to luxury electric-car startups, hype is the name of the game.

Lucid Motors unveiled its Air luxury sedan in December, promising a range of up to 400 miles, power of 1,000 horsepower, and cutting-edge technology.

But very few people outside the company have gotten more than a glimpse at what, on paper, looks like a Tesla-rivaling luxury sedan.

DON'T MISS: Lucid reveals design for its luxury Air sedan, a Tesla competitor (Dec 2016)

Lucid doesn't plan to start production until 2018, granted, and the company likely won't offer the public a closer look at the Air until then.

But in the meantime, Bloomberg got a brief ride in an Air prototype, and its experience seemed to bode well for the car's prospects.

The car used was what is known in the industry as a "test mule," and did not reflect the final specifications of the production Air.

Prototype for Lucid electric car due in 2018

Prototype for Lucid electric car due in 2018

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It had carbon-fiber body panels that won't be used on the production car, an incomplete interior, and its electric motor had been dialed down to only 500 hp.

Nonetheless, under hard acceleration, occupants were "literally pinned to our seats," reports Bloomberg, adding that the car felt nicely planted in corners.

Lucid also brought a "hero" version of the Air with a complete interior, to demonstrate the car's reclining rear seats.

ALSO SEE: Lucid Air electric car video shows luxury sedan on the road

The seats can adjust in "every imaginable dimension, and some oddly unimaginable ones," according to Bloomberg, including one that left the occupant looking straight up through the Air's canopy-like glass roof.

An emphasis on passenger comfort may be connected to Lucid's plans for autonomous driving, which could make drivers largely redundant if they choose.

Lucid has said the Air will come equipped with enough sensors to enable fully-autonomous driving, but will not say exactly when that ability might become available.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

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First, though, the car itself needs to be available.

Lucid chose a factory site in Casa Grande, Arizona, last year, and has been left with a relatively tight time frame to complete the factory and ramp up car production by its 2018 deadline.

Starting production of a new car is a complex undertaking, and building a new factory and production processes from scratch with a new workforce only adds to the challenge.

CHECK OUT: Lucid (nee Atieva) to build luxury electric cars in Arizona factory (Nov 2016)

That's apparent from the experience of Lucid's fellow startup, Faraday Future, which unveiled its FF 91 electric car at CES in January.

Work on the company's Nevada factory has ground to a halt, and it is now scaling back its production plans.

Both Lucid and Faraday are backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, although Faraday appears to rely more heavily on his resources, which come from the Le Eco tech company he founded.

Lucid Air spotted driving through San Francisco

Lucid Air spotted driving through San Francisco

Enlarge Photo

Lucid, on the other hand, is the new name for a Silicon Valley company that's been around for a full decade.

That firm, Atieva, was founded in 2007 to design and sell battery packs and propulsion systems for other manufacturers' electric cars.

It went through a few iterations of its business plan, according to insiders, but it always intended to become a vehicle manufacturer in the end.

Whether it can realize that dream should become apparent over the next two or three years.

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