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Lucid primes £40,000 Tesla Model 3, Model Y rivals

Lucid mid saloon render side
Lucid mid saloon render side

Lucid believes access to advanced technologies will give it an edge in the high-volume family car market

American EV maker Lucid will launch in the UK within the next two years before expanding its range with an affordable mid-sized model line to rival the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.

Lucid launched the Air saloon in 2021 and earlier this month revealed its long-awaited SUV sibling, the Gravity, which are both priced from around $80,000 (£64,000) and aimed at the luxury end of the market.

But the next model line to be introduced will take the brand boldly into more mainstream territory, with CEO Peter Rawlinson suggesting to Autocar a starting price of “about $50,000” (£40,000) and laying bare his ambition to drastically increase Lucid’s sales volumes.

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“We have to go with volume, because that’s what we’re about,” he said, explaining that Lucid had to launch the high-end Air and Gravity first because of the costs involved in setting up a new car company.

Details of what to expect from the next Lucid remain under wraps, but Rawlinson did suggest that it would appear much earlier than has previously been reported.

Lucid Gravity parked – rear quarter
Lucid Gravity parked – rear quarter

He said: “I’ve formally stated mid-late decade, and that has been completely misquoted as the end of the decade – 2030. What I mean is ‘not 2025’. It’s a few years away, but it’s close. It takes three and a half years to do a car, and we’ve started… and that wasn’t yesterday.”

Rawlinson – who previously led development of the Tesla Model S while serving as chief engineer at the pioneering EV maker – also revealed to Autocar that the new products are designed to take on his former employer.

He said: “The mid-sized [line] is going to be overtly a Tesla competitor – Model 3, Model Y. This is the first time I’ve ever said it: we’re going to compete in that market – high-volume family car.

“And how can we compete? Because we’ve got the most advanced technology, which means we can go farther with less battery, and the battery is the most high-cost item of an electric car. So if you can go a certain distance with less battery, you can make that car more cheaply than anyone else.”

Lucid platform
Lucid platform

Lucid was a battery supplier before it started making cars, and the Air is one of the longest-range, quickest-charging EVs on sale globally.

Ultra-efficient battery chemistry combined with aero-optimised bodywork and ‘miniaturised’ drivetrain components give the Air a maximum 516-mile range from a 112kWh battery.

No doubt the entry-level cars’ batteries will be smaller, but they should still provide segment-leading range figures.

Asked if Lucid would consider building cars using the ‘megacasting’ method now favoured by Tesla, which minimises the number of individual components in a car and thereby reduces costs and production times, Rawlinson said: “I would do anything that I see as technically beneficial.”

He stopped short of revealing the volumes that Lucid aims to ultimately achieve, though.

Lucid Air driving – front quarter
Lucid Air driving – front quarter

Before expanding its lineup, the brand will finally begin production of right-hand-drive cars. Rawlinson suggested 2025 as the likely date for Lucid to be ready to enter the UK market.

Asked to confirm if Lucid is coming to the UK, Rawlinson – who was born and raised near Cardiff and has led the engineering departments at both Lotus and Jaguar – said: “We are. It’s a matter of when. I’ve got to be there – I’m British.

“We’ve got to do right-hand-drive Air. To do that is probably going to take us 18 months and we’re absolutely slammed, because I’ve got all my main engineering team doing all the design and development for Gravity.

“So realistically, it’s two years away. I’d love it to be less. If we started tomorrow, it would be 18 months.”

He added that the UK launch wouldn’t be limited to the Air; Lucid would “totally” look to offer its other models over here as well.

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