Lucid Air Full-Sized Luxury EV Will Have an Astounding 517-Mile Range

lucid air will go 517 miles on a charge
Lucid Air Will Go 517 Miles on a ChargeLucid

Lucid, one of the few electric car makers that looks like it’ll actually produce an electric car, announced this morning that it expects to get a range of 517 miles when the EPA certifies the range of its luxury car later this year.


That is way more range than any competitor, even Tesla. Back in 2017 when we got a ride around Las Vegas in an early build of the Air, Lucid was claiming a range goal of 400 miles, which was a lot for 2017. But even by 2020 standards 517 eclipses all the competition. How did Lucid do it?

“Efficiency,” said company CEO Peter Rawlinson. “The really important thing here is we haven’t done it with a humungous battery.”


Rawlinson said any carmaker could get big range figures just by adding an absurdly huge battery pack. The Lucid Air will have “less than 130 kWh” of battery, Rawlinson said. He is not saying the exact size for “competitive reasons,” but says that 130 kWh was the battery size they thought they’d need to make the 400 miles of range they thought they’d get back in 2017.

Those “efficiencies” are present in all facets of the Air. The car operates on a 900-volt system, for instance, which lessens losses to heat, for one thing; the car makes just a fifth of the heat losses it was making three years ago. With fewer heat losses, the openings on the body for cooling are also reduced, which helps contribute to the Air’s also-remarkable 0.21 coefficient of drag.

Rawlinson is an engineer at heart and so lapses into technical speak easily. Hold on for a paragraph or two of that and pay attention here:

“And the other thing we’ve done is we’ve linked that (900-volt system) with our inverter which controls the motor drivers,” he said. “We’ve gone to a silicon carbide MOSFET type inverter (Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistor), we dispensed with the old IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor). So when you last saw the car (in 2017), it was at 400 volts with IGBTs. Now we’ve got over 900 volts with silicon carbide MOSFETs technology. And it’s a world of difference in terms of neural efficiency in a combination. So it’s a much more, much more efficient system.”


“We’re actually making the battery pack smaller, and it’s a considerably smaller package to get the 517-mile range and that’s why I’m thrilled now. And also, by doing it with efficiency, not with a humongous batttery, it also paves the way for us to make another version of it, which is maybe just about 380 miles range, but with a mixture of the proportionately smaller battery pack, which will be lighter and more cost effective, and we can carry those savings on to the customer.”

lucid's ceo peter rawlinson at the wheel of an air
Lucid’s CEO Peter Rawlinson at the wheel of an Air.Mark Vaughn

They can also sell or license that technology to other EV makers, which Rawlinson says he plans to do at some point.