Tesla will soon face competition from Lucid Motors, a California company that officially debuted their first high-end electric vehicle this week. The streamlined Lucid Air sedan is expected to become available in late 2018. The announcement of the Lucid Air comes during a time of rapid innovation in the world of automotive, with innovation such as self-driving vehicles, electric batteries, and ride-sharing positioned to alter the landscape of the car market, potentially before the Lucid Air becomes available.
Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s chief technology officer, said:
“We’re very forward looking in that respect. We believe we’ve got the most likely bases all covered.”
The prototype Lucid Air unveiled this week will be fully electric and will allow autonomous driving. Lucid has promised that the car will feature a 100 kilowatt hour battery, and later a 130 kilowatt hour battery, with a range of 400 miles on a single charge. According to Tesla, its Model S vehicle can travel up to 330 miles on a single charge. However, which features will be included in the final product of the Lucid Air is still not clear.
Speaking to these concerns, Derek Jenkins, vice president for design, said:
“We’ve been creating a production car from the start, not a concept car. Inevitably through the feasibility process some features will morph or change slightly. Fundamentally this is representative of the car we want to build.”
Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell remained uncertain as to whether the offering will draw customers. As the industry develops smaller and increasingly efficient batteries, they are becoming the industry standard for electric vehicles instead of a selling point. Caldwell said:
“It seems a little passe at this point. To really move the needle, I think you’re going to talk about how your electrified vehicle will fit into a future concept of mobility, whether it’s part-time ownership or part of a ride-sharing fleet.”
Tesla, the current leader in the high-end electric car market has announced plans earlier this year for its own ride-sharing network. Tesla is also working towards autopilot and self-driving technology. They also has a head-start on the market, with thousands of cars already on the road, and many more on order. While Lucid’s new offering may look competitive with Tesla on paper, Tesla also has its CEO Elon Musk bringing a special level of brand recognition to the Tesla name.
“A lot of people want to emulate Tesla, but Tesla is more than a car company. They have someone at the helm who is trying to put people on Mars, who is doing a lot of interesting thought-provoking things, which kind of gets people to buy in wanting to be part of that.”