The best (electric) car in the world? Tesla’s ex-chief technology officer raves about his Lucid Air

The relationship between Tesla boss Elon Musk and Peter Rawlinson, who worked for him from 2009 to 2013 to bring the Model S into series production, doesn’t seem to be the best. Rawlinson himself is still full of praise for Tesla and its electric cars, while Musk recently said that the British contribution was not as big as he claims. But with his new employer Lucid Motors, Rawlinson now wants to show that electric cars can be even better than at Tesla, as he explained to the business magazine Forbes.

Range Lucid Air in front of Tesla Model S.

Even the Tesla Model S was a milestone, Rawlinson told the magazine, but the Lucid Air was “technology of the next level and generation”. Series production is scheduled to begin in early 2021. In the best versions, the luxury electric car Lucid Air is significantly more expensive than the Tesla Model S or Model X. With more than 800 kilometers, it also offers a much greater range, charges faster and should also cover the quarter mile of the previous series Teslas leave behind.

About Lucid, which was then still called Atieva, he switched in 2013 under two conditions, Rawlinson now said: He wanted a name that doesn’t sound so much like yoghurt – and “to develop the best car in the world, the best electric car that it ever has has given”. He had many ideas in himself to get to the next level. He does not see Tesla as the actual competitor, but conventional luxury cars such as those from Germany in particular.

Faster and lighter than the Porsche Taycan

In his conversation with Forbes, Rawlinson nevertheless drew many comparisons with other electric cars – but not with those from Tesla, but with the Porsche Taycan. Its rear engine weighs around 175 kilograms with 500 hp, the more powerful Lucid Air only 74 kilograms, he explained. The lightweight electric motor is used on both axles and, unlike the Porsche, the Lucid has a reduction gear at both the front and rear. In terms of the repeatability of starts with full power on the quarter mile, the Air is on the same level as the (slower there) Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

When it comes to charging, the Lucid Air will also outperform both Porsche and Tesla, according to Rawlinson. Recently, employees of his had shocked the Electrify America team by exhausting one of its charging stations without prior notice: the electric car pulled 340 kilowatts there, more than any other before. The charging network confirmed this information to Forbes. As Rawlinson said again only with a view to the Porsche Taycan, there is also a disadvantage of its far lower efficiency.

Lucid Air should become an icon

Rawlinson also wants to outperform his former employer Tesla when it comes to production quality – probably unavoidable in view of the envisaged luxury segment. Peter Hochholdinger, a long-time factory manager at Audi, who then briefly switched to Tesla, is now working for him. When asked about the quality of the early Model S, the German expert took Tesla under protection: Even Volkswagen, as one of the currently best car manufacturers, has problems in the production of its ID.3 and its offshoots. So it affects everyone – the key is to test and learn.

Still, Lucid will not attract as much attention as the Model S with its Air, Rawlinson said – Tesla was simply the first and therefore “more innovative and disruptive”. But the Air has the chance to become an icon. He has already invested his heart and soul in the Model S, especially in the new super electric car. He just hope people will love it.


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