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EV startup Lucid Motors unveils first concept

by Ronan Glon

The Air concept boasts a 400-mile driving range.

Keeping a promise it made a few months ago, California-based startup Lucid Motors has introduced its very first concept.

Named Air, the Chinese-backed company's first concept takes the form of a big, luxurious sedan aimed right at the Tesla Model S. It stands out with a futuristic, understated design defined by slim lights on both ends, a fast-sloping roof line, Tesla-style hidden door handles, and large alloy wheels.

Lucid points out the Air is about the size of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, yet it offers the same amount of interior space as a bigger S-Class thanks in part to clever packaging. The list of options includes a 29-speaker sound system and individual executive rear seats that can recline at a 55-degree angle.

Technical details are vague at best. At this point, all we know is that the Air hits 60 mph from a stop in as little as 2.5 seconds thanks to a drivetrain that offers up to 1,000 horsepower. A unique battery chemistry helps the battery withstand repeated fast charges, and the Air is ready for autonomous driving.

Production of the Air will kick off in 2018 in a brand-new factory that's being built in Arizona. Buyers can reserve one of the first 255 Launch Edition models by placing a $25,500 deposit. The Launch Edition cars will be "well-optioned" and stand out with "distinguishing features."

Customers who prefer a standard model can reserve one by sending Lucid a $2,500 deposit. Production of the standard cars will kick off after the 255 Launch Edition models are sold out. As of writing, only buyers in the United States and Canada are eligible to reserve a car.

The company predicts it will sell about 20,000 cars during its first year on the market, but it hopes to quickly reach a cruising speed of 130,000 units annually by expanding its lineup. Future models will cost approximately $65,000.

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