Getting a jump on the LA Auto Show which opens with a daylong media event this week, EV startup Lucid rolled out its second all-electric product, the new Gravity SUV.
With seating for up to seven, Lucid officials told TheDetroitBureau.com the new utility vehicle could quite literally become the center of gravity for the nascent EV brand.
Calling it a “supercar in disguise,” design chief Derek Jenkins said the new model will offer a mix of high performance, extended range, a luxurious design and plenty of new, high-tech features.
“It is both a supercar in disguise and an SUV with flexible passenger and cargo space that seems impossibly big relative to the exterior size of the vehicle,” said Jenkins. “And it does this all with Lucid’s distinctive post-luxury design, inspired by California.”
Expanding the line-up
The California-based startup debuted barely a year ago with the Lucid Air sedan. The initial offering, dubbed the “Dream” package, started at $169,000 and could top $200,000 when fully loaded. But it generated more than 30,000 advance reservations. Lucid has begun rolling out more affordable versions of the Air, including the Touring and Pure models it also is launching in Los Angeles. The latter package is expected to start somewhere at or just under $90,000.
Lucid didn’t offer many details about the Gravity SUV, beyond noting it shares the same basic underpinnings as the Air sedan. That starts with a skateboard-style “architecture” that mounts batteries and motors below the load floor. The design is flexible and can be adjusted both in terms of size and ride height, while also squeezing in a variety of different battery backs and powertrain layouts.
Muscle and range
Lucid has yet to offer specs for the Gravity model, but it’s expected to offer a similar model mix to the Air sedan.
The new Air Touring model debuting in L.A. has a twin-motor all-wheel-drive configuration making 620 horsepower, enough to launch it from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. Yet it is rated to get 425 miles per charge, according to the EPA. At the extreme, the upcoming Lucid Air Sapphire will deliver roughly twice as much power and hit 60 mph in 1.89 seconds, the automaker claims.
Because of the added mass, as well as the added aerodynamic drag of a bigger SUV, Gravity is likely to deliver lower range, and slightly slower acceleration, compared to the Air.
The overall design picks up on the basic look of the sedan. One notable difference is the use of an all-glass roof on the SUV. Air features a windshield that flows about halfway into the roof.
As with the original sedan, Gravity offers class-above interior space by repurposing space normally devoted to an engine compartment for passengers and cargo. Among other things, it offers a large “frunk,” or front trunk, under the hood.
The interior is lavishly appointed, especially when compared to the fairly spartan Tesla Model X. But Gravity will forego most traditional controls, relying primarily on its “Glass Cockpit” to handle most vehicle functions. That includes a small touchscreen to the left of the steering wheel for basic functions like wipers and headlights, as well as the twin screens that dominate the center stack. The infotainment system controls not only functions like navigation and audio, but also seating and steering wheel operations.
“Setting new benchmarks”
“Gravity builds upon everything we have achieved thus far, driving further advancements of our in-house technology to create a luxury performance SUV like none other,” said Peter Rawlinson, who serves as both CEO and chief technology officer for the Lucid Group. “Just as Lucid Air redefined the sedan category, so too will Gravity impact the world of luxury SUVs, setting new benchmarks across the board.”
Prior to helping found Lucid, Rawlinson served as CTO of Tesla and is widely credited with leading the development of the flagship Model S sedan and subsequent Model X SUV. He has done little to disguise his goal of beating Tesla at its own game with the Air and Gravity models.
Lucid said it plans to begin taking orders for its new SUV early next year, with the first Gravity models set to be delivered during the first quarter of 2024.
Whether the startup can meet that target remains to be seen. During last week’s third-quarter earnings conference call, officials revealed Lucid has fallen short of production goals so far this year — though Rawlinson said the company expects to resolve some of the unexpected snags in the coming months. The shortfall nonetheless contributed to a bigger than expected loss for the quarter and registration numbers indicate some potential buyers have given up on waiting.
On the plus side, the Lucid Air sedan has received generally strong reviews, especially for its performance and range which, on some versions can top 500 miles. The Gravity is expected to deliver similarly benchmark numbers for its segment.
The new SUV will be assembled alongside the Air sedan at Lucid’s plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The automaker has laid out plans to launch a number of additional models over the coming years. Rawlinson told TheDetroitBureau.com in a previous interview the next goal will be to add smaller and more affordable models similar to Tesla’s Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.