Lucid Motors Gets Aggressive On Tesla
Start-up claims to have a bigger battery and longer range than the Model S P100Dby Kirby Garlitos, on
When you’re an ambitious startup company who wants to make a name for yourself in an industry as competitive as the auto world, you don’t beat around the bush with what you have to offer. You let the whole world know about it and you tell Goliath, in no certain terms, that you’re coming with more than just rocks and a slingshot. Lucid Motors has adopted this kind of strategy as it tries to take aim at the monolith that is Tesla. It’s been saying a lot of things recently, but now it’s officially thrown the first shot at its perceived rival with claims that the startup’s answer to the Tesla Model S will be capable of having a range exceeding 400 miles.
You don’t need to be a math wizard to compute that a 400-mile range is 85 miles longer than the 315-mile range Tesla is offering with the range-topping Model S P100D.
Apparently, 300 miles is chump change for Lucid Motors since it’s planning to give its standard model that amount of range to begin with, using, of course, a 100 kWh battery pack. It just so happens that Lucid also has an optional battery pack that has 130 kWh at its disposal, accounting for the extra miles that the automaker wants to attain.
It’s an ambitious goal, not to mention a pressure-packed one, now that it’s making the headlines. Fortunately, Lucid Motors has a pretty strong and reliable partner on its side in Samsung SDI, exploding Note 7 batteries notwithstanding. Nobody gets it right all of the time, yes?
Regardless of the ills that have befallen Samsung SDI recently, Lucid Motor remains confident that its collaboration with the battery division of Samsung will yield bountiful results for its promised electric sedan. The automaker has even said that the batteries it’s going to use to power its yet-to-be-named model will not only be the most energy dense in the auto industry, but will also be resistant to damage associated with fast-charging.
That’s a lot of promises to make for a company that has yet to get off the ground, but like I mentioned, Lucid Motors isn’t going to make a name for itself if it tries to hit singles or doubles. It needs to swing for the fences to get people’s attention. And at least in this instance, it did just that.
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Gotta live up to the promises now
You have to admire Lucid Motors’ bravado, even though the pragmatist in me understands that these boasts will amount to nothing if the automaker can’t deliver on its promises. That is, after all, the endgame here because Lucid Motors now finds itself in the spotlight to deliver and we know from history that the heat from that spotlight has forced many other companies to melt. Just take a look at the struggles Faraday Future is experiencing now after similar bouts of chest-puffing in the past.
That’s the bigger reality that the company faces. It’s not about promising this or that; it’s about actually seeing through on these promises and having an actual product that it can present to the world. Even the allure of being backed by “Chinese money” has run its course because, as Faraday has shown, that’s not necessarily enough for a startup company to get its footing in the industry.
In the end, Lucid Motors needs to have a product that can not only live up to hype and anticipation, it also needs to sell. And for it to sell, it needs to be developed in such a way that customers will feel comfortable paying the price for it. Sure, it’s not impossible; Tesla started out from nothing and look where it’s at now. But it is very difficult and the people behind Lucid Motors should be very aware of that, if they’re not already.
An electric sedan with a 400-mile range sounds great on paper. It really does. It sounds awesome, actually. But Lucid Motors isn’t going to sell cars that sound great on paper. It needs to sell cars that translate to the real world, and while these promises are fine right now, the automaker needs to make sure that it lives up to them when the time comes for the real car’s arrival.
That’s the bigger challenge that lies ahead for the ambitious electric car startup. I hope it gets there, but until I see that it does, a wait-and-see approach is probably ideal.