The Air looks superficially the same as when we saw it in 2017, but almost every body panel has changed. [credit: Lucid Motors ]
With a brand-new, state-of-the-art factory nearing completion in the southwest desert and an energy-dense battery pack using cylindrical cells, it's all-too tempting to set up a rivalry between Lucid Motors and Tesla. Heck, it's a trope that we've been guilty of using in the past. But it's a bad take, according to Peter Rawlinson, Lucid's CEO and CTO. "Please don't describe us as a Tesla killer," he told me. "The world's big enough that we can both thrive and prosper alongside each other."
It's been a while since we checked in with Lucid Motors. In 2017, we got our first look at the Air, a stylish sedan that Rawlinson says is targeting the Mercedes S-Class, not the Model S. Later that year, one of the company's alpha prototypes stunned us by achieving a remarkable 235mph (378km/h) in testing. But plans to enter production in 2019 were waylaid by a lack of funding.
"We saw our Series D funding take a little longer than anticipated. But it ended in an outstanding result with a public investment from Saudi Arabia that was over a billion dollars," he told me, referring to the big (if controversial) investment from the Middle East. Rawlinson said that the plan was always to go into production about two years after funding was secured, and were it not for the pandemic, that schedule would be on track.