“Lucid” is the Last Thing This Is

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More and more, it becomes apparent that in the Future, only the rich will get to drive. The rest of us will be enlisted to finance it for them.

Another “revolutionary” electric car – only $60,000 to start! – was unveiled at the New York Auto Show. It’s called the Lucid Air – and it seems pretty damned stoopid.

Peter Rawlinson, Lucid Motors’ chief technology officer, said the Air represents a leap in EV evolution over the vehicles produced by his former employer Tesla Inc.

And why?

“It’s a revolutionary step forward because it’s a car that is more compact on the outside and much more spacious on the inside,” Rawlinson says.

Now that is a revolutionary idea… right up there with the synchronized gearbox and sealed beam headlights. Someone might tell this geek that small-on-the-outside but large-on-the-inside cars have been around since . . . well, a long time. Wiki Nash Metropolitan, Mini Cooper . . . .

“This is the next-generation electric car. This is showing the true potential of electrification. No one’s done that.”

My teeth ache. Again. Every time I go to one of these press conferences. I feel like I’m the only person in the Cuckoo’s Nest who’s not cuckoo.

Or, on crack.

The rent-seekers who confected this crapulence are, of course, ex-Tesla rent-seekers. And, like the economically egregious, functionally preposterous Tesla, the Lucid Air boasts about half the range – best case – of an IC-engined Toyota Corolla but has 400 hp, because having the capability to do 0-60 in about 3 seconds for $60,000 to start (the Air’s estimated base price) is the sort of thing that Uncle thinks working Americans ought to be forced to “help” finance the manufacture and purchase of.

Rawlinson says the car at the show here is an “alpha prototype,” with a “beta prototype” due in a year and production in two years. That, however, depends on Lucid raising more funding for a proposed plant in Casa Grande, Ariz. Although ultimately projected to cost $700 million, the plant is planned in three phases. The first, enabling production of 20,000 vehicles a year, would cost $240 million.

Lucid is working through venture capitalists to raise the money, he says, as it has throughout its existence. Initially a battery maker called Atieva, the company changed its name last year. Rawlinson adds that it is a misconception that Lucid is Chinese-owned; it is owned by an international assortment of investors and is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif.

“Our competitive market is the luxury [segment] worldwide, which is dominated by the Germans and is worth collectively $100 billion a year,” he says. “Let’s be clear, Tesla is only scratching the surface of that.”

And they ask me why I drink . . .

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  1. The industry can’t even do a battery for a smart phone that lasts more then a few hours, let alone how much power a car needs. It annoys me how often I have to charge my iphone, a car would be ten times worse. There has been no major breakthrough in batteries in decades, but yet we are just on the doorstep they claim.

    As long as electric cars are favored by the feds, its likely a practical solution will never be found. They never try anything different. This car is likely not very different from the tesla.

    They are so hellbent on getting rid of ICE’s, they can’t even do more simple hybrids. Wouldn’t hybrids be more simple if electric motors were the only source to turn the wheels? Hybrids are so heavy because you have a gas engine, transmission, electric motor(s), batteries etc. You could ditch the transmission for the gas engine, if it only powered a generator. Most of the batteries could be ditched as well. That would get a lot of weight off a car. Could you get V8 or V6 amounts of power with electric motors with only a 3 or 4 cylinder non turbo gas or diesel engine? Basically it would be a little version of a train locomotive, a tech that is 80 years old.

    As long as batteries are like what they are (and have been for 100 years), electric cars are just a toy.

  2. All these companies are trying to position themselves to be ready when the “big breakthrough” in battery technology happens. My guess is somewhere in the CEO’s investors’ Power Point presentation there’s a bit of hand-waving about batteries and all those 5-years-out technological breakthroughs we see pop up on slow news days. Well, you know who else had 5 year plans? That’s right, the Soviet Union. Just endure a lot of pain today for a glorious tomorrow.

    The thing is, except for the batteries, electric cars are fantastic. Almost no maintenance, few moving parts, and very wide power bands. But the batteries are critical to the thing working at all. And they have all the negatives of gasoline without any of the advantages. Just search youtube for “LiPO failure” and you’ll see just how unsafe these things are.


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