Lucid’s first SUV is a stunner, riding on a new aluminum spaceframe with an updated (but non-specified) powertrain from the world-beater Lucid Air sedan.
Expect up to 800 hp and a range of 440 miles or more per charge. Battery size was not released.
Price will start at under $80,000 when the Gravity debuts at the end of 2024.
After two years of building and delivering the very fast, very efficient Lucid Air sedan in all its various model-line manifestations, from Pure to Sapphire, all of them wickedly quick and some boasting over 500 miles of range, Lucid has finally revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show its first SUV: the Gravity.
Welcome to the world of profitability, Lucid.
“We have justifiably high hopes for good sales,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid.
And they’ll do it with a sleekly styled body, three very usable rows of seats for up to seven adult passengers (I sat in the third row and was comfortable), a luxurious cabin that rivals the best in the class, and the same powerfully efficient drivetrain as the Lucid Air sedan.
“The Gravity SUV represents a significant leap forward for Lucid’s world-leading technology and design,” said Rawlinson. “Customers will find an unprecedented combination of space and maneuverability, luxury, and versatility, all seamlessly integrated into one remarkable vehicle with the driving experience and range of a true Lucid.”
We didn’t get to drive it yet, but Rawlinson ain’t lyin’ about the aesthetics.
I got to look around outside and inside—and sit in all three rows—of a Gravity prototype at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California. It is as practically luxurious on the inside as it is aerodynamically efficient and nice to look at on the outside.
Aerodynamics are at a premium but don’t result in a freaky exterior with any unnecessary louvres, flaps, or wings. There is an absolute minimum of surface whoop-dee-doos anywhere on the body. The flush door handles and sweeping sides make for a design that won’t be mistaken for anything else on the market.
“It was really important to maintain the sleek silhouette that we established with Lucid Air that’s really highlighted by our cabin signature that accentuates both the space of the vehicle as well as the sleekness of the car,” said Design Director Derek Jenkins during my visit.
That all makes for a target coefficient of drag of less than 0.24, an aerodynamic profile unsurpassed by any other three-row SUV.
That sleek exterior wraps around an all-new aluminum spaceframe. Yes, all-new. Why not just take the Lucid Air sedan and raise the roof? It wouldn’t work, Lucid says, at least not as well. By starting with a clean sheet of paper, or in this case a blank CAD computer screen, Lucid created a shape that exactly fit the needs of a three-row SUV, instead of adapting an existing, and soon-to-be-aging SUV into something it’s not.
The powertrain is similar to, but an evolution of, the one in the Air sedan. Lucid is not yet listing specifics, but the Air sedan comes with one, two, or three electric motors, with power outputs ranging from 430 hp driving the rear wheels in the Air Pure, all the way up to 1234 hp from three motors in the AWD Air Sapphire. A slide they showed at the preview detailed the plan to pare down the powertrain offerings in the Lucid Air down to just three:
Pure 430 hp, RWD, 419 miles of range
Touring 620 hp, AWD, 420 miles of range
Grand Touring 819 hp, AWD, 516+ miles of range
But there’s no word about whether those figures will be applied to the Gravity range.
Zero-to-60 mph times for the Air sedan range from 4.5 to 1.89 seconds, and top speeds are from 124 mph to 205 mph. But since Lucid has not yet said which of those drivetrains will be in the first Gravity SUVs, we don’t know if they’re relevant. But word is the first Gravity will offer “up to 800 hp” at launch.
Likewise, charging rates of the Gravity are not listed by Lucid. The Air sedans range from 250-kW peak DC charging to 300 kW for the Air Sapphire. The Gravity will offer bi-directional charging, though what exactly it can plug into is often left up to the standards and capabilities of the chargee.
“Lucid’s innovative proprietary EV powertrain technology and our holistic approach to vehicle engineering already enabled the Air sedan to redefine what was thought possible from a luxury sports sedan,” Rawlinson said.
“With Gravity, these innovations evolved and our next generation technology is applied with even greater effect, resulting in an electric SUV that can achieve over 440 miles of range with a battery pack a little more than half the size of some of our battery-hungry competitors,” Rawlinson said.
The Air battery comes in several different configurations, but Lucid does not specify which will be in the Gravity.
Among the many neat-o features inside the Gravity are:
A 34-inch curved and uninterrupted OLED display that floats above the Gravity’s innovative new steering wheel.
Dual thumb-operated and programmable touchpads on the steering wheel for greater control of infotainment while keeping both hands on the wheel.
A “Pilot Panel” with a quick access touch bar and sitting alongside a new glass center console that elegantly slides open for additional storage.
Augmented reality in the HUD turn-by-turn navigation.
A “Detox Mode” similar to that found in ancient Saabs that shuts down all unnecessary interior and onscreen graphics for silent running.
Sanctuaries that take you away to “pleasant locations onscreen” for those downtimes when you’re charging or sitting in the driveway getting ready to go back into the house. For these sanctuaries, images are projected on the 34-inch screen of, say, Joshua Tree, while the massaging seats go to work on you. There’s even a “mindfulness program” that will guide you through an actual meditation breathing moment.
If that doesn’t work there’s karaoke.
It even remembers your birthday, anniversary, New Year’s Day, etc. “The car knows your calendar.”
The fact that they’re listing the sticker price of all this technology at under $80,000 to start is surprising, as it looks like something that would cost much more.
With all of the above, plus an efficiency target of 3.6 miles per kWh, the Gravity could become the most efficient electric SUV on the market. The looks and utility of the rest of it means Lucid has a solid chance at being a hit in an increasingly crowded—and increasingly electric—market.
More specs to come closer to the Gravity’s launch in late 2024.