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A white Lucid Motors Air is parked in front of a modern home with palm trees.

Is the Lucid Air a Tesla Killer?

One of the most important aspects of the auto industry is competition. Competition drives manufacturers to try new things, develop better technology, and make vehicles to try to one-up each other. Within the EV market, Tesla has been considered the leader in terms of specialty manufacturers for quite a few years now, but it has a lot of competition coming up. One of the companies that many people are excited about is Lucid Motors and their first commercially available vehicle: the Lucid Air.

Today, I’m going to take a look at what we know about the Lucid Air and see if it might be the one to knock Tesla off its pedestal. Since Tesla has four different models available right now, however, it seems only fair to draw a more point-by-point comparison between the Lucid Air and Tesla’s flagship model, the Model S. So, I’ll be comparing the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S, and talking about what they both have to offer. But I’ll look at things a bit big-picture to see what these companies are doing and if Lucid Motors has what it takes to succeed.

Lucid Air Info

To start things off, let’s take a look at what the Lucid Air has to offer in terms of price, specs, and more. For one thing, four different trims are available for the Air: the starting Air Pure, then the Touring, Grand Touring, and finally the limited edition Air Dream Edition. While four trims is a great selection, it’s worth noting that only the Air Dream Edition will be available in the next couple of months – with the other trims coming later this year and early in 2022.

That being said, the Lucid Air Dream Edition is an amazing piece of machinery, featuring a dual-motor all-wheel drive system, with motors that produce up to 1,080 hp and the ability to go from 0 to 60 in just 2.5 seconds. This beauty can run a quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds and is expected to have a range of more than 500 miles on a full charge. Those numbers are spectacular and demonstrate just how powerful this car truly is.

Inside the Air Dream Edition, you’ll find a Nappa Full-Grain leather interior with wood trim and an immersive 3D audio surround system. It rides on 21-inch wheels and features a glass canopy roof for an elegant and gorgeous driving experience. All of this comes at a pretty hefty price tag, however: the Dream Edition starts at $161,500, while the Grand Touring starts at $131,500, the Touring at $87,500, and the Air Pure starts at $69,900.

A gold Lucid Motors Air is driving around a mountain highway.

Tesla Model S Info

Now, in order for the Air from Lucid Motors to have any shot at dethroning the Tesla, we need to see what Tesla has to offer in its most impressive model, the Tesla Model S. I’ll do my best to keep the comparisons direct, though there are some important differences worth pointing out. For one thing, the Tesla Model S is available right now and has been in production and sold for many years. Two trims are offered for the Model S: a performance-focused Plaid trim and the more practical Long Range model.

If you choose the Plaid trim, then it has a tri-motor all-wheel drive system, with motors that deliver up to 1,020 hp and the ability to go from 0 to 60 in just 1.99 seconds. It can run a quarter-mile in 9.23 seconds and has a maximum range of 390 miles on a full charge. If range is important to you, however, then the Long Range model has a dual-motor setup with slightly lower performance and a maximum range of more than 400 miles on a full charge. There’s a Plaid+ model coming with a range of over 500 miles, but it won’t be available until later this year.

The inside of the Tesla Model S is everything you expect: with three gorgeous displays (including one for the back seats), tri-zone climate controls, a 22-speaker audio system, and a full glass roof that is truly stunning. There’s a reason this has been the definitive EV for quite a few years now, and it just keeps getting better. Plus, its Plaid trim starts at $119,990 while its Long Range model starts at $79,990.

How Do They Compare?

So, if we look at these two models head-to-head, we can see some interesting stuff. For starters, the horsepower on their performance versions are pretty comparable, but the Tesla Model S has a tri-motor system while the Lucid Air only has a dual-motor system, and this is likely why we see faster acceleration with the Tesla. However, the Air gives you an amazing combination of both performance and range, whereas (for now at least) you have to choose which to focus on with the Model S.

More trims are available from Lucid Motors, but they’re going to be staggered throughout the rest of this year and into next, while you can order a Tesla Model S right now if you want one. With more trims, you get more options, of course, and that includes a starting trim at a lower price than the least expensive Model S from Tesla. However, Tesla has three other vehicles available, including another EV car that starts at just $37,990, which makes it far more affordable than even the starting Lucid Air.

One last thing to note is that the Lucid Air can have a maximum range that significantly surpasses the Tesla Model S. The Tesla Model S Plaid+ will change that, but for the moment, the Air has it beat.

A view of the dashboard and windshield in a Lucid Motors Air.

Other Considerations

One other thing to consider is that since Tesla is a proven quantity, it already has a lot of established presence in the market. This is a big deal in one particular way: charging stations. Tesla has their own network of charging stations already available, and more are being added all the time. While Lucid Motors is not too far behind, since it’s on the Electrify America network, there aren’t quite as many charging stations ready for the Air as there are for the Tesla Model S across the country.

Also, Tesla models have the AutoPilot features standard, with Full Self-Driving functionality available. Right now, this includes auto lane changing, automated parking, and even the ability to summon the Model S to you in a parking lot. While Lucid Motors is no-doubt working on similar semi-autonomous functionality, we haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

The fact that Lucid hasn’t actually released the Air for widespread distribution yet is also a consideration. A year or two from now, we’ll have a much better sense of what Lucid is capable of and how well they deliver on what they’ve planned. But their manufacturing plant in Arizona only completed its first stage of construction and became usable in December of 2020, so there is still much to be seen. Early adopters might get something exclusive to brag about, but they also take all the risks.

So, Is the Lucid Air a Tesla Killer?

Honestly, I doubt it will be a full-blown Tesla killer – in fact, I doubt any vehicle will be, at least any time soon. That being said, Lucid Motors is definitely in a good position to give Tesla a run for their money, especially if the Air can do everything they’ve claimed. How well they deliver, of course, remains to be seen.

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