Car“Tesla killer” lives in Geneva
Lucid Motors, another California electric sedan manufacturer, has just opened its first Studio in Geneva, Switzerland. And he intends to show that there is some under the hood.
It is an electric car of all advantages. “The most powerful”, “the fastest”, “the most luxurious”, “the widest”… Do not throw anymore! Anyway, this is how Lucid Motors presented the scope of the Lucid Air range to us in Geneva a few days ago. Especially its latest baby, the Grand Touring model, one of 4 versions of its luxury sedan. In the segment of premium electric vehicles, the brand manages to demonstrate a truly insane performance: 1,111 horsepower for a range of 900 kilometers, and in particular, it reaches a speed of 97 km/h (60 mph) in 2.6 seconds. More muscular than the competition.
A direct competitor to Tesla in the high-performance electric sector, the Californian brand, after opening its wings in North America, now intends to tempt the European market. In particular, after Munich, Switzerland, Geneva became the second stronghold of the manufacturer established on the old continent. The brand opened its doors last Friday in Rond-Pont-de-Rive, and the first Lucid Air models are expected to hit Swiss roads “in the first quarter of 2023,” European marketing director Jarno Middelbosch promises. But why in Geneva? “Because we are targeting affluent customers and we know that Switzerland is ready to accept this kind of luxury car,” he continues, adding that another marque is expected in Zurich soon. To explain how the city of Calvin was able to toast the decency of the nation’s economic capital, we bet the manufacturer jumped at the chance to take over the buildings vacated by Tesla a few months ago. moved a few hundred yards away, on the Confederate Center side.
Mercedes, BMW and Porsche appear
Lucid Motors, on the other hand, denies that its compatriot is treading on flower meadows. Jarno Middelbosch continues: “What sets us apart from Tesla is our position in the luxury market. We are trying to get closer to brands like BMW, Porsche or Mercedes. In terms of design, comfort and performance.”
In terms of power and autonomy, the figures announced above correspond to the – now sold out – Lucid Air Dream Edition, a limited edition used to launch the brand at the beginning of the year: 500 copies were released. North America and a few less (Lucid Motors doesn’t say exactly how many) will soon be delivered to Europe. Therefore, new customers will have to return to the other three models currently available, whose prices start between 100,000 and 200,000 francs: Air Pure, the entry level (480 hp for 653 km of autonomy), Air Touring (620 hp for 653). km of autonomy) or Air Grand Touring (819 hp for 845 km of autonomy). It’s the latter that we only got a glimpse of from the passenger seat during a short trip around town.
The “wow” effect of “Glass Canopy”.
Inside, we are really comfortable in terms of comfort. Finishes are beautiful, acceleration – from a standing start – even in the city, and the driver does not put all the “potatoes”, nails us in the seat, and the fully glazed front roof – lo impressive “Glass canopy” – extends in one section from the dashboard to the middle of the roof, beautiful to the passenger compartment brings light. “If you want to stand out from the competition, you have to be better,” says European sales director Daniel Davy. “If we were content to offer a level equal to Mercedes or Porsche, customers would automatically turn to those manufacturers for their prestige. So we we need to be more efficient at all levels.”
The Californian is also taking performance into account as it now announces the upcoming arrival of two new models. Originally planned for 2024, the inevitable SUV, Air Gravity, and above all, the monster Air Sapphire, equipped with 3 engines, which will have a total combined power of more than 1200 hp and allow you to accelerate to 97 km/h in 1.89 seconds. , or 1-tenth better than the Tesla Model S Plaid, the fastest electric car ever. Lucid also claims a top speed of 330 km/h… What good is that performance when it comes to buying bread in the summer or even going to the beach? “It’s a show of force,” Daniel Davy replies. One way to show off our know-how: the most powerful sedan ever built. Sapphire is a hypercar that will compete directly with Pininfarinas or other Lamborghinis, but with all the comfort of a sedan.” For the brand’s CEO, Peter Rawlinson, a former Tesla chief engineer responsible for the Model S in particular, it’s a way to show “who has the biggest (battery)” in the sector. Perhaps a bit of a childish show of force, especially in the current energy context, but it has the merit of attracting attention. And in such a competitive market, this is already too much.
A sharp decline in production
Especially since the brand has to deal with supply issues this year. It has had to revise its ambitions downwards after announcing last year that it was aiming to produce 20,000 cars by 2022. Even several times – the fault of the lack of some electronic components – and the factory in Arizona, where all their technology is produced in house (engines, batteries, batteries, headlights, etc.) from 6000 to 7′ 000 units. Therefore, caution is required on the Geneva website, which does not indicate the number of expected sales. The war in Ukraine, which has increased energy prices, obviously does not help matters.
The branch at the end of the lake – in Lucid jargon we call it the “Studio” – will in any case allow you to place orders from all over Europe. Either from physics or directly manufacturer’s website. As with Tesla, you select your mouse model, confirm the several options offered (exterior color, interior trim, wheels, etc.) and finalize your purchase with a simple click. As casual as an iPhone to stay in California premium domain. If it is only here, we will be asked to confirm our reservation by paying 300-970 francs in advance, depending on the model. We’re not that close anymore…