The all-electric Lucid Air gets an estimated EPA range of 517 miles

Lucid Motors said Tuesday that its upcoming all-electric luxury sedan can travel 517 miles on a single charge — a range that, if validated by the U.S. EPA, blows past every other EV on the road today, including Tesla.

The estimated EPA range was released ahead of the September 9 reveal of the Lucid Air. The automaker said the estimated EPA range was verified by FEV North America, Inc., an independent firm that conducted the test in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Lucid Motors, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has been releasing details about its Air sedan for weeks now in the lead up to the final reveal, including its coefficient drag of 0.21, the hardware suite that will support its advanced driver assistance system and its retail strategy.

This latest announcement stands out as much for the 517-mile figure as the progress it’s made in the past few years. Lucid had promised more than 400 miles of range in early 2017 when it unveiled an alpha prototype of the Air. Lucid Motors CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson said the company has made a series of technological breakthroughs that has allowed it to achieve an estimated EPA 517 miles of range, while reducing the battery pack’s capacity. 

It’s also possible that official EPA estimate could end up landing north of 550 miles, Rawlinson said in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

The process

The 517-mile figure was determined after applying the EPA’s Multicycle Test Procedure, which uses a standard adjustment factor. The initial testing showed an unadjusted estimate of 738 miles on a single charge. Like other electric vehicles, that figure is then adjusted using a standard correction of 0.7. (738 multiplied by 0.7 equals 516.6 miles)

Tesla vehicles have a standard adjustment factor of 0.75, which recognizes the automaker’s advanced aerodynamics and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Rawlinson believes that once the EPA receives data on its HVAC system and its aerodynamics data, it too will receive the higher standard adjustment factor. If the EPA validates Lucid’s testing and applies the 0.75 adjustment factor, the Air could end up with a range as high as 553.5 miles. 

How it got there

Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 with a different name and mission. The company, called Atieva at the time, was focused on developing electric car battery technology. It then shifted to producing electric cars and changed its name in 2016.

But Atieva didn’t go away. It’s now a division within Lucid that since 2018 has supplied battery packs for all cars participating in the Formula E racing series. Atieva has a contract to supply battery packs for Formula E through 2022. The company learned a lot in the past two years of Formula E racing and has applied those lessons back into the Lucid Air, Rawlinson said. 

Rawlinson wouldn’t provide details on the chemistry of the battery cell. He did say that the company co-developed the chemistry with its battery cell supplier LG Chem .

Lucid’s battery technology is a critical component to achieving the range. But it’s not the only one, Rawlinson insisted. 

“What I’m trying to achieve here is range through efficiency,” Rawlinson said. “Everyone seems to say it’s all about the battery technology, and it’s not. Battery technology is only part of this.”

Rawlinson said what really matters is getting the maximum range with the smallest possible battery pack. By improving battery efficiency, Lucid is able to reduce vehicle weight and cost. Today, the company is hitting more than four miles per kilowatt hour with the Lucid Air. Rawlinson is aiming for five miles per kilowatt hour.