In April, when it displayed its Air electric car at the 2017 New York Auto Show, Lucid Motors claimed a special Alpha Speed Car prototype version had reached 217 mph at the Transportation Research Center test track in Ohio, matching the top speed of a Ferrari LaFerrari. Lucid recently sent the Air back to that same test track, and the luxury sedan went even faster.
The original 217 mph top speed was software limited, but for its second attempt, Lucid removed that limiter. The result was a maximum velocity of 235.44 miles on the 7.5-mile oval track. That further cements the Air’s standing as one of the fastest electric cars around, but Lucid thinks there is still room for improvement.
“While it may be the top speed achievable on that day, with those conditions, and that this stage of development for the Alpha Speed Car, it is not the final production top speed of the Lucid Air,” the company said in a blog post.
The Alpha Speed Car was pulled from Lucid’s fleet of prototype test vehicles, and was fitted with a roll cage, a large rear spoiler, and a parachute. After the first high-speed test in April, Lucid changed the software controlling the car’s self-leveling air suspension, made tweaks to the front electric motor, and added more aerodynamic wheels.
The Lucid Air is compiling a long list of impressive statistics. The top version will have 1,000 horsepower and a range of 400 miles, Lucid has said, and achieve 100 MPGe. Lucid also plans to offer a 315-mile version, as well as a base model with rear-wheel drive, a 240-mile range, and 400hp.
While the most expensive versions of the Air will cross into six-figure territory, the base model will start at $60,000 when production begins in 2019. Lucid is taking deposits of $2,500 per vehicle, and plans to start production with 255 “Launch Edition” models, which will have the 315-mile battery and 1,000hp.
But before it can build cars, Lucid needs to build a factory. It chose a site in Casa Grande, Arizona, last year, and is in the process of raising $700 million to fund the plant. Construction hasn’t started yet, leaving Lucid little time to meet its 2019 production deadline. The company expects to build around 10,000 cars in the first year, ramping up to around 50,000 per year after that.
Lucid currently sits in a crowded group of electric-car startups that also includes Faraday Future and Nio, not to mention well-established Tesla. Traditional automakers are also getting in on the luxury electric-car game, with Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche all planning to launch new models over the next few years. Lucid will need more than a top-speed trump card to compete with them.