Sunday, October 1, 2023

Lucid Unveils Premium Performance EV That Goes From Zero to 60 in Less Than Two Seconds

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Luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors has unveiled the new Lucid Air Sapphire Edition, a premium sedan, which the company says will go from 0 to 100 km/h in less than two seconds, from 0 in less than four seconds. to 100 km/h and the quarter mile in less than nine seconds.

That’s hugely impressive in a full-size, all-electric luxury sedan and makes the new sapphire blue car possibly the most powerful production sedan on the market, beating the previous record holder, the Tesla Model S Plaid.

Power to pavement

Unveiled Friday during Monterey Car Week, the new Sapphire Edition combines some of the features of Lucid’s lower-end models, such as the Dream Edition and Grand Touring Performance Edition. First, the new version of the Air gets three engines, two at the rear and one at the front, bringing its estimated horsepower to 1,200, according to Lucid.

At the time of release, Lucid didn’t provide pairing numbers, but as Eric Bach said at an early briefing for journalists, “Lucid is redefining what the family sedan can do,” with the release of the new model.

The twin rear-drive unit will receive two 500 kW inverters based on those in the Dream Performance Edition, plus modified planetary gear reduction units. This rear arrangement places each wheel under load in opposite directions, giving the Sapphire Edition more stability and control. The system can also apply regenerative braking to individual rear wheels to make the large sedan angle more accurate.

Lucid says the dual rear drive unit will also get new heat exchanger technology and increased refrigerant flow. While the company said they have upgraded the battery system for more power and better thermoregulation, it has not released specific details at the time of release.

If you’re going big on power, you need to go big on brakes, suspension and tires. To that end, Lucid upgraded to carbon-ceramic brakes, changed the spring rate, gave the Sapphire higher damping, added anti-roll bars and improved power steering and ABS.

The Sapphire Edition also gets custom composite wheels and a special set of tires (20-inch front, 21-inch rear) made from a compound that offers a combination of low rolling resistance and high grip, similar to a Cup 2 tire. Lucid will also offer a set of wheel guards that attach to the wheels via the central locks to make them more aerodynamic and efficient for longer, more relaxed rides.

That color

In addition to all the performance parts, the Sapphire Edition also gets a number of visual changes – the most important being the Sapphire-exclusive blue exterior and a new stealth look that makes the bright work disappear, including the side mirrors and the added duckbill spoiler at the rear. The fenders are slightly wider at the rear (by about 24mm according to Lucid), and the front gets 12mm wider.

At the same time, however, even with the extra motor, the interior space and packaging all fit within the same footprint as the standard Lucid Air. Interior and boot space will not diminish with the Sapphire Edition, and the vehicles will be built along the same lines as the rest of the Airs assembled at the company’s Arizona plant.

A taste of what the Grand Touring Performance Edition can do as a taste of things to come

In June of this year, Lucid took the Grand Touring Performance model to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Ben Collins, aka The Stig, drove the sedan up the famous hill at the event, setting a record as the fastest production sedan to to climb the climb. .

We did do two fast laps around the WeatherTech Raceway with Collins in the same vehicle that did the Goodwood Hillclimb early Thursday morning. On a damp, mist-shrouded track, the Performance Edition is hugely impressive.

Like all EVs, the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance has massive amounts of torque and power, but what’s so impressive and striking is how quiet everything is, minus the noise of the stock tires approaching their grip limit. Collins is a master driver, maneuvering the sedan effortlessly around the tight (and blind) corkscrew.

The new Air Sapphire edition will be even faster, according to the company – and we’ll be riding the left seat early Saturday morning with Collins in the new version, so stay tuned.

Price and delivery?

Lucid says the new Sapphire Edition starts at $249,000, which is $69,000 more than the Grand Touring Performance ($180,000). The company is also experiencing delivery delays and lagging production, partly due to the supply shortage caused by the pandemic and logistical issues. The company also had to raise the prices of its vehicles this year as global inflation threatens.

Lucid declined to say how many of the Grand Touring Performance vehicles it plans to build, but it did say production will be limited due to the new components needed for the vehicle. Today the reservations are open for the new cars. A company spokesperson confirmed that existing reservation holders would not be moved or delayed by Sapphire orders and that deliveries would begin in the first half of 2023.


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