Automotive: The “Tesla killer” lived in Geneva
AutomotiveThe “Tesla killer” lived in Geneva
Lucid Motors, another California manufacturer of electric sedans, has just opened its first “Studio” in Switzerland, in Geneva. And he intends to show that he has something under the hood.
This is the electric car of all superlatives. “The most powerful”, “the fastest”, “the most luxurious”, “the loosest”… Throw no more! In any case, this is how Lucid Motors showed the breadth of the Lucid Air range to us a few days ago in Geneva. And especially its latest baby, the Grand Touring model, one of 4 versions of its luxury sedan. In the segment of premium electric cars, the brand really manages to show quite crazy performance: 1111 horsepower for 900 kilometers of autonomy, in particular, and the 97 km / h (60 mph) reached in 2.6 seconds. It is more athletic than the competition.
After spreading its wings in North America, the Californian brand, a direct competitor to Tesla in the high-performance electric sector, now intends to attract the European market. And more specifically in Switzerland because after Munich, Geneva became the second bastion of the manufacturer established on the old continent. The brand opened its doors last Friday, in Rond-Pont-de-Rive, and the first Lucid Air models are expected on Swiss roads “in the first quarter of 2023”, promises Jarno Middelbosch, European director of marketing. So why in Geneva? “Because we are targeting a wealthy clientele and we know that Switzerland is ready to welcome this type of luxury car,” he continued, adding that another brand is also expected in Zurich soon. And to explain how the City of Calvin was able to toast the decency of the country’s economic capital, we bet on the fact that the manufacturer jumped at the opportunity to take the place left vacant by Tesla just a few months ago , when he moved a few hundred meters away, to the side of the Confederation Center.
Mercedes, BMW and Porsche in sight
However, Lucid Motors denied stepping on the flowers of his countryman. “What distinguishes us from Tesla is our positioning in the luxury market, continues Jarno Middelbosch. We prefer to approach brands like BMW, Porsche or Mercedes. Whether in terms of design, comfort or performance”.
In terms of power and autonomy, the figures announced above correspond to the Lucid Air Dream Edition model, a limited series – now sold out – used for the launch of the brand at the beginning of the year: 500 copies placed in circulation in North America and fewer (Lucid Motors did not specify how many) will soon be delivered to Europe. Therefore, new customers will have to return to the three other models currently available, whose prices start between 100,000 and 200,000 francs: the Air Pure, the entry level (480 hp for 653 km of autonomy) , the Air Touring (620 hp for 653 km of autonomy) or the Air Grand Touring (819 hp for 845 km of autonomy). It was the latter of which we had a brief glimpse, from the passenger seat, on a short trip around town.
The “wow” effect of the “Glass Canopy”
Inside we are really comfortable in terms of comfort. The finishes are beautiful, the acceleration – from a standing start – makes us nail to our seat, even if we are in town and the driver has not put all the “potatoes”, and the perfectly shiny roof at the front – I’m impressive ” Glass Canopy” – which extends in one piece from the dashboard to the middle of the roof, brings good light to the passenger compartment. “If you want to stand out from the competition, you have to be more excellent,” says Daniel Davy, European sales director. If we are content to offer a level equivalent to a Mercedes or a Porsche, customers automatically turn to these manufacturers for their prestige. So we must be better, on all levels”.
And the Californian has this, performance issue in mind as well, as he has today announced the upcoming arrival of two new models. First is an inevitable SUV, the Air Gravity, scheduled for 2024, and above all the Air Sapphire, a monster equipped with 3 engines whose total combined power will exceed 1200 horsepower and make it is possible to reach 97 km/h in 1 .89 seconds , or 1 tenth better than the Tesla Model S Plaid, by far the fastest electric car. Lucid also announced a top speed of 330 km/h… It remains to be seen what use such performance is when it comes to buying bread or even going to the beach in the summer? “It’s a show of force, Daniel Davy replied. One way to show our knowledge: the most powerful sedan ever built. Sapphire is a Hypercar that will compete directly with Pininfarinas or other Lamborghinis, but with all the comfort of a sedan”. For the CEO of the brand, Peter Rawlinson, former chief engineer of Tesla, specifically responsible for the Model S, therefore it’s a way of showing “who has the” biggest (battery)” in the sector. A show of force is probably a bit childish, especially in the current energy context, but has the merit of attracting attention. And in such a competitive market, that’s a lot.
Big drop in production
Especially since the brand had to deal with supply problems this year. After announcing last year a goal of producing 20,000 vehicles by 2022, it had to revise its ambitions downward. In some cases even – the fault of the lack of some electronic parts – and its factory in Arizona, where all their technology is made in house (motors, batteries, batteries, headlights, etc.) is now hopes to deliver between 6,000 to 7′ 000 units. Therefore, caution is required at the Geneva site, where the number of expected sales is not specified. And the war in Ukraine, which is driving up energy prices, clearly isn’t helping matters.
The branch at the end of the lake – in Lucid jargon, we call it “Studio” – will in any case allow orders to be placed from all over Europe. Either in physics or directly from manufacturer’s website. Like Tesla, you choose your mouse model, confirm several options offered (exterior color, interior decoration, rims, etc.) and complete your purchase with a simple click. As with an iPhone, to stay in the Californian premium domain. If it is only here, we will be asked to confirm our reservation by paying from the beginning between 300 and 970 francs depending on the model. We’re not that close anymore…