As a magazine, we get invited to wonderful grand openings, parties, red carpets, cruise-namings, press trips, and many other events and occasions. And as a car lover, I could not pass up one experience offered to us, a day exploring Miami in the Lucid Air.
Starting off at Hagerty Garage + Social (see video at end) to learn more about Lucid Motors and the vehicle, Lucid Design and Branding experts shared with us the organic concepts, design inspirations, and vision of the company and what it was trying to evoke, share, and give birth to, this new luxury electric vehicle (EV). It was refreshing and not corny to hear the geographic, celestial, and time of the day inspiration for the color swatches and combinations for the interior and exterior design. Whenever I hear someone talk about materials in a car’s interior, I flash back to Ricardo Montalban and Fine Corinthian Leather in the Chrysler Cordoba, so I had that in mind, but the Lucid team’s descriptions were refreshing and made sense.
Our Miami test drive commenced in the Little River Area, then to the seaside on Biscayne Bay at Matheson Hammock Park, then back to the Design District for lunch. Afterward, we EV-ed it back to our host hotel. It was an elevated day with impeccable lodging, fun company, Michelin Star dining, and the luxurious Lucid EV.
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Morning breakfast at our host hotel, one of the more elite hotels on the Miami Beach, The Faena, was accompanied by an offer to experience the Lucid EV for a longer time period. After an already very positive experience with the car, but one that was about a half an hour total with myself behind the wheel, an offer of a longer time to explore, yes was the quick and easy answer.
Behind the Wheel
A five-day test drive commenced with me exploring both north and south of my home in Fort Lauderdale. First up was a quick journey to the Palm Beaches area, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. With free charging at select charging stations, fuel was one less expense to consider when traveling out to another city for the evening.
The drive up Interstate 95 and through the streets of the Palm Beach Area was the perfect dry run on my own. Dinner at Kapow, yogurt at Peachwave, and then a drive over to the heart of Palm Beach shopping on Worth Avenue, a retail mecca that rivals the best shopping districts in the world. A storm rolled in and I was able to get some great shots of the sky as well as the vehicle.
A Powerhouse EV
The vehicle I had was fresh with only about 2500 miles. It was mine to feel, explore, wear, and use. Besides the beauty that is very evident, what did I think about the performance, safety options, drivability? How did Lucid Motors do? They say they are the EV company redefining luxury. They’re also redefining the power and performance available in an EV. Here are some of the statistics that came to life on the road.
Powertrain and Charging
Drivetrain layout Dual Permanent-Magnet Electric, All-Wheel Drive
Transmission Single-speed (gear ratio 7:1)
Power (total) bhp 620
Torque (total) lb.-ft. 885
Battery capacity kWh 92
Platform architecture 700V+
DC charge power Up to 250 kW
Acceleration 0 – 60 mph sec 3.4
19” wheels mi 425 mi/kWh 4.6
20” wheels mi 384 mi/kWh 4.2
The power was impressive, with three different drive modes available, Smooth, Swift, and Sprint. Most driving would be done in Smooth, but the Sprint feature which blessed your foot and heart with so much more power and performance was exhilarating. Equate it to being on a roller coaster, but you have control of where the roller coaster goes. I’m not the EV expert so I did give a ride to some friends that I consider to be highly EV knowledgeable as they go to the trade shows, have owned several EVs, and have test driven many more. So to see their reaction to the vehicle and the comfort, design, size, and power, especially with the swift mode and what it could do, that made me appreciate the vehicle even more.
The Palm Beaches trip was just a small road excursion but it allowed me to become comfortable with using the vehicle, experiencing its safety features, and figuring out how we got along. My compass was then pointed south to one of my favorite places on the continent, Key West. With the GPS set to the Island House, I was ready to sit in this vehicle for 4 ½ hours. Yes, a long time, but I know that would give me the ability to really test the vehicle out on multiple roads, driving scenarios, and to experiencing it on one of my favorite roads, Route 1 to Key West.
Charging and Range
The vehicle I had was fitted with a 20-inch tires, therefore dropping the range down to 384 miles from the class leading 425 miles. That would get me very far, but as this was my first extended usage of an EV, I did not know how much energy I would exhaust in the sprint mode, how much juice would be used to keep the vehicle cool parked in the sun, and just how the whole thing worked, to be honest. Knowing that this car has the leading range of all fully EVs, I knew I would get to Key West, but knowing how traffic can happen and pop out of nowhere I wanted to make sure I had a large enough charge for anything life threw me so I did charge the Lucid up to 300 of the 384 mile capacity before taking off on my second journey. Using the Lucid phone app, I saw that they were chargers available at a Bank of America in Key West so I knew the 151-mile trek from my house to the end of the continent would be no problem. The app was also very handy when checking on the power remaining in my car while I was away from it, sitting in the Island House pool area or just waking up in the morning. I was being cautious. The app was also used to assist me in prepping the car for charging, which is something I forgot I had to do and learned the hard way that if you do not prep the battery around 20 minutes prior to plugging the car in for a charge, it will just add to the time you’ll have to sit at “the pump” that extra 20 minutes or so before the battery is ready to take on a charge. Luckily, the three chargers I used were near a great Cuban breakfast walk-up window restaurant (Key West), a Target (Fort Lauderdale area), and an Outback restaurant (West Palm Beach area) so that I planned the charging along with other errands, shopping, or breakfast and dinner dining, checking the app always while away to see how the charging was proceeding.
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The car is beautiful. While driving down to Key West, I caught many people turning their heads and looking to see what this car was. Of course they’ll be curiosity about something different, but I know that it is a beautiful car and when I saw it prior to the test drive, it turned my head and I wanted to know more.
At the Bank of America in Key West, I had an extended chat with the gentleman who was charging his Mustang EV beside me. There was quite a difference between the vehicles and, after the discussion and comparison, I was very happy to climb back into mine.
One of the times when I was getting out of “my Lucid” in front of the Island House, I noticed a Tesla approaching. The driver slowed down, stopped, and we chatted about the vehicles, and he was very humble and excited to see the Lucid up close.
While in the pool at the Island House, I heard many conversations about the vehicle, and their excitement to see one in person, as well as their inquisitiveness. It was hard to miss as it was parked right in front of the entrance. I joined into a couple of conversations about the EV, some knowing so much more about the vehicle than I, while others just wanted to say it was a beautiful vehicle.
And I was excited every time when I approached the vehicle, to look at the vehicle, to experience a new line here, a design feature there, and I feel it’s a car that I would never get tired of looking at.
How Does It Rate
So how do you like the car? That was a question that I had for those wonderful five days as I traveled across my state in one of the most unique and luxurious cars I’ve ever been in. Now that my journey is done, and I’m back to some normalcy, I can share my thoughts on my chariot, the Lucid Air.
The Lucid is heavily compared to Tesla first and I will say that this vehicle with its comfort, power, internal space, internal design, external design, the Lucid is better in every category. Do I dare say this is what Tesla could be if they wanted to focus on luxury, performance, and comfort? The Lucid takes the Tesla down a notch in my hierarchy of vehicles, almost labeling the Tesla as an “every man’s EV,” like the VW Beetle, where owning a Lucid is a choice to show others that yes, driving an EV is an important choice, but I’m keeping what I love about driving and experiencing the road. I’m going to possess something that does not leave behind luxury, performance, comfort, and emotion. Those of us that know that a vehicle is more than something that gets you from point A to point B, desire to own a machine that is more than a box on wheels, more than an efficient mode of transportation, we want that feeling, that experience every time we get behind the wheel.
Plusses and What I Miss
Power – I’ve mentioned the power, but let me bring it up again. With 620 horsepower on my model, and with some models reaching 1,111 horsepower or more, much fun was had. Launching the car onto the highway, into passing lanes, commanding the road, it was impressive and now truly missed. My current vehicle, Infiniti QX50 has 268 and does very well so to have a ride that was well over twice my present car’s umph, yes, it is missed.
Auto braking – more so Accelerator pedal-actuated regenerative braking via motors. When you let off the Lucid’s gas pedal, the vehicle uses this breaking to help generate more power back to the battery, but it also slows the car down. This is much more noticeable than the slowing down of your gas-powered vehicle when you let off the gas pedal. When I returned to driving my Infiniti, it took me a while to get used to once again needing to apply the break when wanting to slow down, instead of expecting the car to decrease speed with the regenerative breaking.
The Cameras – I have the around view monitor on my Infiniti, but with the Lucid, it employs at least 32 sensors to assist you and the vehicle from driving, changing lanes, to parking. The self-parking was great as it was a feature I did not know the vehicle had, but when I pulled up to a spot, the car automatically offered to park itself. It was a little nerve racking my first time as there were planter, metal poles, curbing, and restaurant goers watching as the Lucid did its thing. I so wanted to take over and make sure it was done fast and efficiently, but I let it park itself and was impressed. The Lucid’s DreamDrive is similar to my Adaptive Cruise Control on my Infiniti, so this technology of keeping the speed, road position, lane safety, distance from others, was excellent and I was happy to see it present on the Lucid. I did not have much of a learning curve in the technology as my Infiniti has all the tech options offered in 2019.
Connections for All – USB A and USB C were present as well as a wireless charger pocket in the center console. I had a hard time using that for some reason. And the Apple Carplay was not mastered by me either. It’s there as well as for Android, but as I was driving a $107,000 vehicle, I did not play with that too much while driving.
The Seats – Massaging seats? Yes, they are wonderful. I experienced those in the Miami test drive but not in the model I had. Those seats would be an option I would desire to have. But the seats I had were quite comfortable, with so much personal modification, no matter what your seating preference between extenders, bolsters, lumbar, every angle and comfort could be achieved. I met a friend I had not seen in a decade at the Island House and it was easy to convince him to ride back with me. Little did I know, he had an anti-sleeping disorder, but slept most if the 4.5-hour drive back and he praised those seats for giving him the comfort to be able to sleep.
What Was Different
There wasn’t much of anything I didn’t like about the Lucid and the time I had. Yes, it was lower to the ground than my current vehicle so getting in and out was different but not awful. I expected there to be more road noise as many EVs lack the soundproofing to save weight, but this was not the case. Loud rumbles of thunder were heavily muffled.
Through Lucid’s rethinking of where controls should be and how the driver and passengers interact, that will take some getting use to, but not much time at all. Alterations made sense if you just opened yourself up to a different approach. I had to get used to the wiper controls as they were not traditional. It was a learning curve, but I was able to learn. Also, when using the turning signal, I had to make sure not to hit the end of the activator as that would initiate the wipers.
The rear view mirror was a little different and maybe I did have it set incorrectly, but it did seem to squish vertically the vehicles behind me. I could not tell a VW Atlas from a Passat, they looked the same. I forgot to look for a setting for that or if I just needed to flip the mirror. Next test drive.
I thought sure I would have issues with the sun and the large glass roof, but the climate control as well as the tint was more than adequate. The geek in me desired to have the ability to unhinge the visor completely to remove it from my view so I could take advantage of the entire glass roof and view. I did turn it to the side often to take in the massive eye-scape.
It’s clear that I fell in love with the Lucid EV. Of course I would be excited over something shiny and new. What I enjoyed was that it had all of the bells and whistles I personally have come to expect in any top of the line luxury vehicle. Safety features, driving advances, fit and finish, they’re all there and then some. But is it worth the price? I say yes, but you don’t have to take just my word for it.
When Edmunds aligns the Lucid Air with its comparable Tesla (Lucid Air vs Tesla Model S – Car Comparison), the price difference is just $8,000. There is no argument that the additional investment is worth it.
US News and World Report has the Lucid Air tied in 1st for the Best Luxury Electric Cars for 2023, tied with interestingly designed BMW i7.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Here are a couple of videos about the locations and technology.
HAGERTY GARAGE AND SOCIAL SIZZLE