So you just realised you’ve got a hundred and fifty grand down the back of the sofa and you don’t know what to do with it…it’s a problem I have all the time. Sooo…time to buy that Tesla right?… Right?
Time was that if you wanted a fast, long-range EV…you went straight to Tesla.com and threw down a wad of cash. But these days, you might have something to think about it. We’re diving into the new kid on the block, the Lucid Air and seeing how it stacks up against the Model S Plaid in this clash of the Titans!
Design & Styling
In terms of design, both cars are striking. You won’t mistake them on the road. Although Tesla has a form that we’ve become more familiar with for nearly a decade now, the refreshes haven’t drastically altered the form. The Lucid is new, it’s fresh…it’s like nothing we’ve seen on the roads before. So, do you prefer familiarity, or tried and trusted?
On the outside, both have that big sedan, saloon appearance. The Tesla is a little bit cleaner in its use of materials, opting for body colours. Whereas the Lucid trims the roofline and pillars. There’s also a noticeable difference in their use of lights. The cluster on the Tesla both front and rear is kept tighter and more compact, whereas the Lucid features the increasingly common light bar that they call their Micro Lens Array headlights.
It’s the interior where the two really depart in terms of styling cues. Tesla maintains that minimalism that they have become famous for, disregarding the prehistoric notion of buttons. They keep the screen behind the yoke in addition to the larger screen in the familiar Tesla position.
The Lucid also departs from traditional interior design, but perhaps not to the extent that Tesla does. We have a 34” display that wraps around the driver’s position, in addition to what they call their retractable central Pilot Panel to control various features in the car.
But perhaps the biggest difference is the steering wheel, or the yoke in Tesla’s case. This has come in for a lot of criticism, but many early purchasers of the Plaid say that they love it, and once they get used to it…would never go back! Early reviews hated the yoke but take a famous Youtuber like Marques Brownlee, and he’s now converted to preferring the yoke.
In terms of cost, there not much between these two, at least not for the kind of person that can afford one that is. The Lucid Air Dream Edition will set you back about $170,000. That’s an all-in price though…all the bells and whistles! The Tesla is a little bit cheaper, and depending on taxes and how you spec the car will be in and around $20,000 or $30,000 cheaper….pocket change for the people who can afford this type of car! Of course, you’ll be able to buy these in other versions for a lot cheaper, but we’re here to dream today!
Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff folks…motors and performance. After that these two will square off in the real battle ground…range! So what’s powering these cars? Both come in at just over 1,000hp.You can spec the Lucid at 1,111hp! So for outright grunt, it’s a points win for the Lucid.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Top speed in the Tesla, presuming you fit the appropriate tyres and get a software update they’re busy writing, will make it to 200mph, blisteringly fast! The Lucid, although far from slow, will make it up to 168mph. But unless you’re living in Germany and like an Autobahn trip, that won’t matter. However Top Speed honours goes to Fremont.
But how fast can they get there? Acceleration in both of these cars in incredibly fast, and it almost becomes an academic exercise in figuring it out! But the Tesla has the edge here. The Lucid will pace to 60mph in 2 and a half seconds, which is hypercar quick. But the Tesla will just pip it, coming in at a smidge over two seconds. Now Tesla do quote 1.99s, but you need a roll out to get under that 2 second mark. And some sticky surface. But it’s bragging rights, whether or not you can do that on real roads, that fastest production road car in the world is quite the accolade. And yes, Rimac fans can leave a comment if you dispute that particular title!
So apart from playing a game of Top Trumps with your friends or bragging after a trip down to your local drag strip, there’s not a lot in it between these two in terms of performance. So let’s move on!
Range, Batteries & Charging
Well, after all that effort drag racing, you’re going to need to charge these cars up. The Tesla will jump onto a V3 Supercharger and can take up to around 250kW peak if you can find it. On the other hand, the Lucid is equipped to take 300kW. Now the issue there is that there are so few chargers in play that can offer that kind of speed. Whereas with the Tesla, you’re much more likely to run into a V3 Supercharger that, of course, only Tesla can use! At least…for now. On AC, the Lucid can actually take up to 19kW which is fantastic to have and is slightly ahead of the Plaid at about 16kW. But the Lucid has V2X which means that it has bidirectional charging. This is a feature we’re starting to see more and more on EVs, and I love it! How much can you pull from the car – if the info is out there, I just couldn’t find it. But Lucid will have their own AC Charger for your garage wall which will take care of the bidirectional power. Elon Musk said at Battery Day Tesla doesn’t believe in the benefits of V2G, but that might just be because they sell a home storage product. So in my eye, that is Lucid for the win.
So what size are the batteries then? Well, as we’ve said on this show before, Tesla don’t officially give out their battery sizes, but we can extrapolate that the battery is just under 100kWh. On the other hand, the Lucid has nearly 20% more at 113kWh usable.
But bigger batteries don’t always mean bigger ranges, as there are variances in efficiencies such as aerodynamics. But in this case, the Lucid keeps the crown. Although the Plaid has a huge range of 396 miles according to the EPA estimate…the Lucid beats it squarely with a rating of 520 miles. And in case you’re wondering that’s where the figure of 520 Dream Editions rolling off the factory line comes from! So, on both range AND efficiency, Lucid strikes a knockout punch.
So what really separates these two cars? And why would you buy one over the other?
There’s some who just love the minimalistic interior of a Tesla. And I will argue all night that Tesla has the best software in the business. They also win the bragging rights to go from 0-60mph the fastest in the world, and little else matters. For others it’ll be the Supercharger network, they’ll say that the Lucid can never compete without something like that! Whilst Lucid may come with free charging on Electrify America, the sheer presence and ease of use with Superchargers means Tesla have an advantage.
For others…they might like the company but not Elon Musk himself. He’s certainly a divisive figure with raving fans and ardent enemies. And let’s not forget that Tesla have been around for a while now, they’re no longer the new kid on the block. So if you want something new and fresh, the Lucid may be the one for you!
The winner of this particular duel, I think it’s too close to call. Leave me your verdict below.
Which would you go for? Or maybe neither float your boat…maybe you’ll wait for a Mercedes EQS? We’d love to hear from you!
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