If you’ve ever taken a highway trip with an electric car, you understand that moving along even close to the flow of traffic can really put a dent in how much range you get from a full charge. Getting anything approaching the EPA range rating in most models takes mild weather and hugging the right lane.
Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson told Green Car Reports earlier this year that its upcoming Lucid Air electric sedan will achieve not just a 400-mile EPA range rating but 400 miles at highway speed—a number that no other current electric car can reasonably today meet, including the Tesla Model S.
Now Lucid has released a video (inserted at the bottom of this story) that demonstrates Lucid not just meeting that challenge but perhaps doing much better.
The video chronicles the drive of a technical fellow and senior engineer as they pull away from Lucid’s Newark, California headquarters and on one charge took Highway 1 past Big Sur—stopping in San Luis Obispo, where its chase truck had to be filled up with $80 of gas—and then all the way to the Santa Monica pier.
Then, after a full charge they drove through Hollywood and Beverly Hills (where the company plans to open a Lucid Studio this summer) and headed back toward the Bay Area along I-5—including the Grapevine, a stretch of I-5 that climbs north of Los Angeles to the 4,144-foot Tejon Pass, followed by plenty of 70-mph cruising.
Lucid Air range test video
Lucid, perhaps playing it straight as there won’t be any EPA range rating for many months, doesn’t claim any actual range number out of the test. But it definitely teases something good when, for a final stretch, Rawlinson and drive unit test and validation manager Wesley Brandon join in a different car as the two prototypes make a parade lap of sorts around the San Francisco Bay. “This is close to a thousand miles in one trip now,” Rawlinson notes—a tease that the range in each direction was well over the 400-mile goal.
After seeing this, Green Car Reports punted a few questions over to Lucid. Perhaps first and foremost, Lucid confirmed that it maintained the posted speed limit for the duration of the trip.
The car that was tested was one of Lucid’s pre-production prototypes, running the same motor, inverter, and battery pack—at around 110 kwh, with LG Chem 2170-format cylindrical cells—that is to be used for the production car. The drag coefficient was also confirmed to be the same.
Lucid confessed that the weight of the tested Air was slightly less than it will be in the production car, because of interior features missing; but it’s since added ballasts to subsequent tests and with software tuning it’s still netting more than 400 miles per charge.
Which brings us to the present. “While the range tests have been halted for now, our engineers continue to collaborate remotely until we can safely return to work, and they look forward to the continuation of this process,” summed spokesman Andrew Hussey.
This first range run was in February, and Lucid followed this drive with what it described as dozens of trips as engineers fine-tuned the Air around the idea of “smart range”—the idea that “it challenges long-distance driving with efficiency rather than ever-larger battery packs.”
A year from now, don’t be surprised to see Air owners accepting the challenge, and taking the same kind of highway trip this Lucid crew did—one that few if any EVs can do in the same way.