When the Lucid Air saloon comes to market in 2021, it will not only have the longest driving range of any electric vehicle, it will also recharge faster than any other EV. Lucid Motors today revealed the charging capabilities of the upcoming Air, and it's impressive, to say the least.
We recently learned the Air has an estimated 517-mile driving range (by EPA testing standards). That, combined with the fast-charging ability of being able to accept over 300 kW of power, will make the Air an excellent choice for long road trips.
The Porsche Taycan can currently accept the most power of any EV sold today, that being up to 270 kW. However, since the Taycan isn't a very efficient EV, it doesn't return the same "miles per minute" that a Tesla Model 3 can while charging at the lower rate of 250 kW. That's because the Model 3 is more efficient and can drive further on a kWh of energy than a Taycan can.
The Lucid has the best of both worlds. It can charge at the highest rate of any EV, and it is also one of the most efficient EVs. That combination makes it the fastest-charging EV, as it can recharge at a rate of roughly 20 miles of range per minute of charging.
“We designed every aspect of the Lucid Air and its platform in-house to be hyper-efficient, from the powertrain to the aerodynamics, and we’ve set several new benchmarks through these efforts including the longest range EV with an estimated EPA range of 517 miles,” said Eric Bach, Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Lucid Motors. “With our ultra-high voltage 900V+ electrical architecture and the proprietary Wunderbox, we have significantly increased the speed of energy getting into, around, and even out of the vehicle, delivering the world’s fastest charging EV packed with future-ready charging features.”
Lucid's extraordinarily high charging rate is possible because of its 900V electrical architecture, including custom lithium-ion battery cells, a highly sophisticated battery (BMS), and thermal management system (TMS), as well as the Lucid Air’s powertrain efficiency.
Lucid tells us: "This efficiency plays a direct and invaluable role in the Lucid Air’s charging rate, determining the rate of mileage as distinct from the rate of energy flow."
As for AC charging, Lucid is also pushing the limits and is equipping the Air with a 19.2 kW onboard charger which can replenish 80 miles of range per hour. In addition to the mobile charging cord set that comes with the vehicle, Lucid is also going to offer its own home charging equipment they call their "Connected Home Charging Station".
The Connected Home Charging Station will be one of the first AC charging stations that offer bi-directional charging. With bi-directional charging ability, Lucid Air owners can use their vehicle to power their homes during an outage, and even fully-power potential off-grid vacation properties. This, in our opinion, is a BIG deal.
Lucid has also announced a partnership with Qmerit to offer customers a seamless installation process of the Connected Home Charging Station.
Lucid will be using the Combined Charging System (CCS or Combo) on their vehicles, and as mentioned above, the Air will be able to accept more than 300 kW of power. However, not too many DC fast charge stations can deliver that much power.
The Electrify America network has deployed the most 300+ kW chargers in the US and Lucid has partnered with the network to offer Air owners three years of unlimited free charging. That offer excludes idle fees, which the customer will be responsible for if they incur them. That's a great caveat to add to these free charging offers, in our opinion. Without it, owners wouldn't be incentivised to move their car off the charger once it's fully charged.
Lucid is also developing fixed Energy Storage Systems (ESS) using the Air's battery pack, power electrics, and BMS software technology. Lucid tells us: "It’s a way for Lucid to create a sustainable lifecycle for re-purposing Lucid Air batteries, as well as contributing to a world where sustainable storage of energy will have tremendous advantages for peak usage, balanced grids, cost savings, and for the environment." We've seen other EV manufacturers announce similar plans, but they never materialised into commercial offerings, so we'll have to wait and see how Lucid's system progresses.