Who really needs an electric car with 500 miles of battery range? Nobody or maybe everyone
Who needs an electric car with a range of more than 500 miles?
The leader of Lucid Motors, a start-up luxury electric vehicle maker that makes one, admits that battery power is more than enough for most drivers.
"Not many people need 500 miles of range," said Peter Rawlinson, Lucid CEO, "but it's a way of eliminating range anxiety once and for all, isn't it?"
The former chief engineer of the Tesla Model S said Lucid will launch its first vehicles later this year. The long-range edition of their first model, the Lucid Air sedan, will get around 517 miles on a single charge, starting at $ 139,000.
Lucid caused a sensation on Wall Street Monday when it went public as part of a deal with a special purpose vehicle (SPAC).
While 500 miles of range may sound like an exaggeration, Rawlinson compares Lucid's approach to that of companies that make watches that can safely dive to "incredible depths" on the wrists of deep-sea divers.
"People won't dive 1,000 meters, but the watch can," Rawlinson said. "You buy that credibility and quality."
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Rawlinson recently spoke to USA TODAY's Nathan Bomey about the future of Lucid, a Washington proposal to expand EV tax credit and competition for the company.
Highlights from the interview, which was edited and compressed for reasons of space and clarity:
When Lucid went public:
Rawlinson: We raised $ 4.4 billion, and that means we can accelerate the development of the company.
When will the first Lucid electric vehicles hit the market:
Rawlinson: We are on the right track (for) the second half of this year.
When Lucid starts selling vehicles in bulk:
Next year: 20,000 units.
On the proposed Washington infrastructure law:
Rawlinson: It's very nice that we have this incentive package. I would much rather see (incentives associated with electric vehicles) efficiency.
Suppose you wanted to incentivize the introduction of a gasoline car 100 years ago. You want to create incentives for efficient gasoline cars. You don't want to create incentives for gas guzzlers.
There are fuel-guzzling e-car equivalents in terms of their carbon footprint. Not all electric cars are created equal. Some are more efficient than others. We have exceptional efficiency in our product.
The purpose of electric cars is to create incentives for environmental protection. Therefore, incentives for the introduction of efficient electric cars should be set.
How Lucid Can Finally Deliver An Affordable Electric Car:
Rawlinson: Efficiency is the way to affordability. We can get on with fewer batteries. It will cost less.
When Lucid will deliver an affordable electric car:
Rawlinson: To build a really affordable electric car, the company would have to grow. It would be a huge investment for us if my investors wanted that.
So I guess when you're talking about a starting price of $ 25,000 to $ 30,000. Realistically, we're seven or eight years away from that. Nine years after the Model S, Tesla still hasn't built a $ 25,000-30,000 car.
I think we don't (yet) have the maturity and infrastructure of the company and the necessary capital.
Why Lucid Makes a Car With More Than 500 Miles of Range:
Rawlinson: I think we have to make a technological show of strength. Not many people need 500 miles of range, but it's a way to remove range fear once and for all, isn't it?
You can replace range fear with range trust. Great products do extraordinary things.
Who are your competitors?
Rawlinson: The Luxury Gasoline Market. And that is really dominated by Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches and sometimes Lexus and Jaguar.
The media likes a comparison with Tesla. Tesla is the undisputed technology leader. Tesla is the yardstick by which everyone is measured, especially for EV powertrain performance.
So that's what I'd say (Lucid's technology should be compared to Tesla.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lucid Motors is aiming for an electric car with a range of 500 miles with the Lucid Air electric car
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