North American electric car startup Lucid continues to spruik its credentials as one of the most credible Tesla competitors.

    The company claimed this week its new Air sedan – set for its road-ready reveal on September 9 ahead of planned deliveries in early 2021 – will be the world’s fastest-charging electric vehicle thanks to a 900V architecture, capable of gaining 32km (20 miles) range in one minute.

    This translates to 483km of added driving range added from a 20 minute zap on a 350kW ultra-rapid DC recharger.

    The 800V Porsche Taycan is capable of gaining 100km range in five minutes, while videos of Tesla’s V3 Supercharger have shown a Model 3 adding 160km in seven minutes. There’s always some tapering during a charge cycle so it’s not simple, predictable maths.

    “This new benchmark for speed of charging is possible through an ultra-high 900V+ electrical architecture, custom lithium-ion battery cells, a highly sophisticated battery and thermal management system, and the Lucid Air’s incredible powertrain efficiency”, the company claims.

    It makes its own “in-house” power electronics, and management system. Taking on such high rates of charge requires, among other things, intense heat dissipation. Lucid has a technology division called Atieva that supplies battery packs for Formula E.

    The Air’s 19.2kW AC onboard charger also manages speeds up to 129kms of added range per hour from a home wall box.

    Lucid last week announced separately its Air had been independently tested (in Michigan) and attained an EPA-rated range of 832km on a full charge, which is a new record for road-going electric vehicles.

    Moreover, Lucid claims the Air will include full bi-directionality through its accompanying AC charging box, meaning the car can power your home or “off-grid vacation properties”, and allow other mooted V2X or V2G applications.

    Other previous Lucid Air announcements include the fitment of LIDAR alongside the de rigeur cameras and radars, with the goal of launching Level 3 capable software over-the-air, a coefficient of drag rating of 0.21Cd, and a battery partnership with LG Chem.

    Lucid’s CEO is Peter Rawlinson, who was once vice president of vehicle engineering and chief engineer of the Tesla Model S. Its head of autonomous driving, Eugene Lee, is ex-GM and Hyundai Motor, and its head of production was a senior director at Audi AG and Tesla.

    While Lucid is based in California and has a factory in Arizona, it announced a US$1bn cash injection from the Public Fund of Saudi Arabia in April last year.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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