Lucid lets shoppers customize cars like a video game character

Lucid just launched its first production vehicle, and it looks impressive. But let’s talk about the new website, too. It features a remarkable buying experience that lets shoppers build a 3D car online and experience it in VR at a Lucid dealership.

Right now, minutes after its launch, the site is laggy at times. I expect it will improve.

Using the tool is just like building a character in a video game. Select a model, add some color and spin the model around to get another look. Don’t like how the black looks? Change it to red, and the image updates in place. Zoom in, zoom out and change the wheels. The image updates as you go.

Video games have had this feature for years. This isn’t a new concept. And some automakers have similar features that allow shoppers to change colors and trim pieces, but none I’ve seen have gone nearly as far as Lucid. Mercedes-Benz’s online shopping tool might be the closest, but it lacks the 3D range of view found on Lucid’s tool.

Once the customer customizes a vehicle to their liking, they can save the file to their Lucid profile and go to a Lucid showroom to experience it in VR. These showrooms — Lucid expects to build 20 in the United States — will have a display with Lucid seats and VR headsets. Lucid employees will load the customer’s saved vehicle into the VR system, and the shopper will be able to experience the car before it’s built.

This tool seems purpose-built for the COVID-19 age. It gives shoppers significantly more insight into a vehicle before going to the dealership. And then, when at the dealership, shoppers can experience the car without getting in a car.

For Lucid, this experience is dramatically more immersive than what Tesla offers shoppers.