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Tri-motor Lucid Air already approaching Tesla Model S Plaid lap record
Stephen Edelstein
STEPHEN EDELSTEIN OCTOBER 1, 2020


Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca
Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca
Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca
Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca
Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca


The rivalry between Lucid Motors and Tesla is heating up.

Last week, Tesla unveiled the 1,100-horsepower tri-motor Model S Plaid, claiming a 0-60 mph time of less than 2.0 seconds, a quarter-mile time of less than 9.0 seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph.

Lucid was already known to be developing a tri-motor version of its Air sedan, and on Wednesday the company released a video of that car testing at—where else—Laguna Seca.

A car fitted with a "development" version of the tri-motor powertrain set a lap time of 1:31.3 during a recent "chassis-testing session." That's quicker than the 1:36.5 lap set by the Model S Plaid prototype in 2019, and just a second off the 1:30.3 claimed most recently.

Lucid noted that the car rode on wider-than-stock wheels and tires (and sported fender flares to cover them), but said the tires were still street-legal. The car also used production-spec brakes, and was driven by senior mechanical engineer John Culliton, not a professional driver from outside the company, Lucid added.

The Air itself was unveiled in early September, but Lucid hasn't offered much detail on the tri-motor version.

Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca
Lucid Air tri-motor prototype testing at Laguna Seca

The company did say that the Dream Edition, with a dual-motor powertrain and 1,080 hp, could do 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, reach a top speed of 168 mph, and run the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds.

Tesla's Model S Plaid looks set to beat those claims, but the tri-motor Lucid Air could one-up it.

These two sedans will likely be the vanguard for electric-car performance.

Back in 2017 Tesla claimed a 1.9-second 0-60 mph time for the next Roadster, as well as a 620-mile range. But the Roadster seems to have been put on the back burner as Tesla focuses on other, higher-volume projects like the Cybertruck and Semi.

The Porsche Taycan offers sporty driving dynamics, but can't match the performance or range figures claimed by Tesla or Lucid.

The Taycan and the Model S Plaid are likely motivating factors for BMW in developing an electric version of the next-generation M5 sports sedan.
 

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I love it but does anyone else think that this is getting stupid like the Detroit muscle car power wars era?
So much so. While I like a spirited vehicle, it gets to a point of complete absurdity. For everyday utility use, the speeds of this Lucid Air or the Tesla S Plaid are unnecessary.

They fall under four specific use-cases:

1. Track racing (a niche market)
2. Bragging rights for stroking the ego
3. mid-life crisis
4. Over-compensation

(2,3, and 4 are just me being ridiculous, just like these speeds are.)
 

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So much so. While I like a spirited vehicle, it gets to a point of complete absurdity. For everyday utility use, the speeds of this Lucid Air or the Tesla S Plaid are unnecessary.

They fall under four specific use-cases:

1. Track racing (a niche market)
2. Bragging rights for stroking the ego
3. mid-life crisis
4. Over-compensation

(2,3, and 4 are just me being ridiculous, just like these speeds are.)
One of the things I learned as I got older is that a car doesn't necessarily have to be stupid fast to be fun.
 

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So much so. While I like a spirited vehicle, it gets to a point of complete absurdity. For everyday utility use, the speeds of this Lucid Air or the Tesla S Plaid are unnecessary.

They fall under four specific use-cases:

1. Track racing (a niche market)
2. Bragging rights for stroking the ego
3. mid-life crisis
4. Over-compensation

(2,3, and 4 are just me being ridiculous, just like these speeds are.)
100% agreement and your forgot: incremental addition speed at exponentially increasing prices:

Each incremental .2 seconds can cost thousands even tens of thousands of dollars extra.

The Model Y LR AWD, 0-60 4.8 has a base MSRP of $49,990. The Performance 0-60 3.8 seconds has a base MSRP of $59,990

BTW, the same is true with an ICE: My Mercedes E450 has a 0-6 time of 4.9 with a base MSRP of $62,000 The AMG with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds has a base MSRP of $73,800. Granted the AMG has certain items that are optional extra cost on the E450 as standard, when you substract those items that .5 second difference will cost more than $5,000 extra!
 

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This is also why I think ICE sports cars are going away sooner than later. Particularly muscle cars. When even BEV pickup trucks do sub 4 0-60, what's the point of a Hellcat or GT500? BEVs will figure out the top speed problem soon enough.
 

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This is also why I think ICE sports cars are going away sooner than later. Particularly muscle cars. When even BEV pickup trucks do sub 4 0-60, what's the point of a Hellcat or GT500? BEVs will figure out the top speed problem soon enough.
Top speed: Tesla already has.

But for most people top speed is a double edge sword: With a top speed of 116 mph, you can use tires with a speed rating of T: with a top speed in excess of 149 mph you must use a speed rating of V.

As compared to V tires T tires:

  • Cost less
  • Have lower rolling resistance for better mileage
  • Have longer mileage - they last longer
  • Ride softer
I have driven over 110 miles per hour twice:

  • In 1967 on I - 95 in Florida at 6 AM on my way back to New York: 1966 Mustang GT convertible, hit 124 mph
  • In 2000 on I-91 outside of Hanover NH: 1998 BMW 740iL, hit 130 mph
116 mph max speed is sufficient for me!


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We're talking $100000+ vehicles which puts them in a niche market segment. If they don't sell the manufactures will stop producing them. I for one love to see just how far technology is able to go in the area of BEVs and lightning speed has been and will continue to be a great advertising point.
 
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