As Tesla has proven, battery cars can be fast, and the latest evidence to support the surge of credibility for electric motoring is from Lucid. We’d hardly refer to the Californian car company as a start-up—it was founded 11 years ago—but Lucid’s Air luxury sedan certainly possesses an array of talents beyond merely cruising the Pacific Coast highway.
Powered by dual electric motors for each axle, the Air is an all-wheel-drive silent assassin, harvesting a peak power output of 1000 hp from its battery packs. In controlled testing, it has run a true top speed of 235 mph and to prove that it can also corner, Lucid’s engineers spend some time doing hot laps around one of the most treacherous and technical racing venues around — Laguna Seca.
The undulating Monterey County circuit is a punishing venue, penalizing inexperienced drivers and cars which lack the talent to confidently lap its 2.2-mile distance. Luxury limousines aren’t naturally at home attempting hot laps, but, according to Top Gear, Lucid was desperate to prove the engineering harmony of their Air and the results are startling.
Rolling special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires the Lucid Air managed to run the quickest lap of one minute 39.30 seconds around Laguna Seca. To contextualize that time, it’s quicker than a BMW M4 and Porsche’s 911 GT3, both very credible performance car benchmarks. A Tesla3 and Jaguar I-Pace were also in attendance at Laguna, attempting quickest laps of their own, but neither got close to the pace set by Lucid’s Air prototype.
With immense reserves of power enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.5 seconds, there was no question of the Air having enough pace to put in a fast lap. Whether it would corner with sufficient poise was the issue and any doubts were allayed when the timing chips were downloaded, and data collated.
All that matters now is not whether the Air is a desirable high-performance luxury sedan, but rather when Lucid will deliver a production version for sale.