In 2016, Lucid Motors burst onto the scene with the Air, an electric luxury car boasting a claimed range of up to 400 miles, and a top speed of over 200 mph. Then the company went dark. Despite initially claiming that the Air was nearly ready for production, little has been heard from Lucid since. But the project is apparently still alive, as Lucid just unveiled what it calls a “beta prototype.”
The prototype is 95% representative of what the production model will be, according to a Lucid blog post. The company plans to build a fleet of 80 of these prototypes, which will be used to fine tune specifications ahead of the start of production. While production models will be built at a new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, beta prototypes are built at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Lucid was quick to unveil the Air, start taking reservations, and announce its Arizona factory location, but the company seems to have run out of steam since then. Lucid originally discussed a 2019 launch date for the Air, then pushed the launch back to 2020. That delay was confirmed in September 2018, when Lucid announced a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Even with that cash infusion, it may be difficult for Lucid to get the Air into production on time. The company just broke ground on its factory earlier this month, so it’s a long way off from being able to build cars for customers.
If it ever goes into production, the Air may be worth the wait. Lucid previously claimed the top-spec version would have 1,000 horsepower, with a range of 400 miles and a price in the six-figure range. A prototype hit 235 mph on an Ohio test track in 2017. Lucid has also discussed an entry-level model with 400 hp and 240 miles of range, at a starting price of $60,000. The entry-level version will be rear-wheel drive, while the high-end version will be all-wheel drive, Lucid previously said.
In 2017, executives told Digital Trends that Lucid plans to add autonomous driving capability in the future. The company is currently taking $2,500 refundable deposits for the Air, but now faces more competition both from other upstart companies and established automakers.
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