Lucid Air Dethrones Tesla Model S as New EV 1000 King of the Ring
From the September 2022 issue of Car and Driver.
To measure the current state of electric-vehicle interstate travel, we followed the same route as last year's 11-car EV 1000. Only this time would be one driver, one machine, one mission: pilot Lucid's Air Grand Touring to see if it could strip the Tesla Model S of the EV 1000 crown. The checkpoints remain the same: Cincinnati and Athens, Ohio; Morgantown, West Virginia; Erie, Pennsylvania; and C/D headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Spoiler alert: The Lucid won. Not by a small margin, but by a whopping 33 minutes, with a total time of 15 hours and 41 minutes (95 minutes of that spent charging, a minute less than last year's winning Tesla). But its victory didn't come without drama.
Whereas Tesla's vast Supercharger network is largely reliable, Electrify America's budding fast-charging infrastructure still shows teething issues. In Cincinnati, multiple chargers were out of order. Thankfully, a single 350-kW plug was available. If only it had worked as advertised, instead of taking 40 minutes to add 46 percent.
Athens, Ohio, is prime real estate for a fast-charger, but we didn't find any new stations along the route. Our next high-voltage connection would be some 377 miles away. The rolling Appalachian terrain threatened to eat every last electron, yet the Lucid covered the stretch with 6 percent of its battery capacity left. Once again chargers were down, the 350-kW unit didn't deliver what's promised, and defeated patrons drove away. "I'll take what I can get. They'll get there," said one customer. Yeah, but when?
After 36 minutes and with 75 percent charge showing, the race against the clock was on. The Lucid would require a quick splash east of Toledo for the final push, and once again, the 350-kW charger didn't deliver.
The Lucid could've taken less time had the charges been quicker, and it may have required just two stops. Electrify America recently raised $450 million to expand its network, but the cash might be better spent ensuring that the current equipment works.
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