PARIS, Jan 14 ― While Tesla is beating sales records in Europe, a new American manufacturer specialising in all-electric vehicles has announced its upcoming arrival on the Old Continent. Lucid intends to export its very first model, the Air, this year. On paper, it's none other than the most powerful and high-range electric sedan on the market.

Tesla has never sold as many cars in Europe as it did in 2021, a success mainly due to the Model 3, the automaker's most affordable model. In France, it was the best-selling electric car of the year (14th overall), ahead of the Renault ZOE. It was even, for a time last fall, the number-one selling car on the entire continent! Long considered a niche manufacturer, Tesla is now making a name for itself in the mainstream, and is inevitably inspiring others.

Up to 830km on a single charge

Many American startups have decided to follow Tesla's lead and join the firm in the all-electric market. One such firm is Lucid Motors, which was founded around 15 years ago and has now started making its first production model, the Air.

Peter Rawlinson joined Lucid Motors in 2013 from Tesla, where he was involved in the development and production of the Model S. He rose to take over as CEO a few years later. It was under his leadership that the small Californian manufacturer developed the Air, which stands out for its record range, estimated at just over 830 kilometres in its highest-range version.

Lucid caused a stir in 2020 when presenting this electric car, which is both the highest range and the most powerful model on the market. In its top-end version, named Air Dream, the sedan offers the equivalent of more than 1,120 hp.

Performance comes at a cost

This year, the Lucid Air is coming to Europe. The first shipments should be announced later this year to buyers who have already made a downpayment on the brand's website to reserve their Air (from €300 to €900, depending on the version).

Like the Model S, the Lucid Air is a relatively high-end car, with a starting price of US$77,400 (RM323,787) for the Air Pure version, not including taxes or delivery charges. You'll have to spend US$139,000 for the highest-range version, the Air Grand Touring. The premium edition, the Air Dream, has already sold out of stock, despite its US$169,000 price tag.

As it stands, the American manufacturer has everything to prove and may struggle to tap into the mass market with such an expensive and ambitious model. Ultimately, its ability to expand its range in the future will depend on its capacity to effectively present itself, in the coming years, as a credible rival to Tesla. ― ETX Studio