An electric limo just lapped Laguna Seca quicker than a Porsche 911 GT3Lucid’s Tesla-rivalling Air EV tackles Corkscrew, wins. Quietly
A long, long time ago, back in those innocent days of late 2016, we brought you news of a big, posh new EV from American start-up Lucid.
It was called the Air, looked ever so slightly like a Renault Vel Satis from the rear, and appeared determined to kick the Tesla Model S right in the sweetbreads.
Since then, things have gone rather quiet from Lucid. But now, it seems, the California company is back on the mains grid, bringing news that an Air prototype has just lapped the sinuous Laguna Seca circuit QUICKER THAN A FRICKIN’ PORSCHE 911 GT3.
Well, sort of. Lucid says that, in the hands of an anonymous chassis engineer, and wearing road-legal, track-biased Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres (the car, not the chassis engineer), the Air EV turned in a lap of 1 minute 39.30 seconds around Laguna’s 2.2-mile course. Which, according to the notoriously unreliable lists of such things gathered on the internet, makes it faster than a Porsche 911 GT3. The last-gen Porsche 911 GT3, admittedly, but let’s not let a detail like that stand in the way of a good headline.
It’s also faster than a host of other sorted performance machinery: the Audi R8 V10, Cadillac ATS-V Coupe and BMW M4 to name but three.
However. If you watch Lucid’s video, you’ll see they’re claiming a slightly slower time of 1 minute 41.67 for a ‘production representative laptime’. Perhaps acknowledging that not many of those in the market for an EV with Merc S-Class-spec legroom will opt for sticky track-biased tyres, Lucid also sent the Air around Laguna shod in a set of standard Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tyres, costing the EV a couple of seconds a lap. Yep, that’s some prescription-strength tyre chat right there. We’ll start delving into sipes and treadblocks if you’re not careful.
Even so, a sub-1:42 around Laguna is still a pretty serious time: quicker than a Jag F-Type R, Aston V12 Vantage S and a Ford Fiesta ST. OK, the last one’s not quite so impressive.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised with the big Air’s healthy turn of speed. After all, though Lucid is yet to release performance figures for the production Air – on account, presumably, of having not yet put it into production – it was previously targeting a modest power output of 1000bhp from the Air’s proprietary dual-motor powertrain. Along with a 2.5-second 0-60mph time and a range of 400 miles. It’s important to aim high.
True, recent history has witnessed too many high-performance EVs that promised so much, and delivered nothing but disappointment, along with bankruptcy to their company founders. And Tesla itself has proved that the path to world EV domination rarely runs smooth. So until the production Air reaches the road, we’ll withhold judgement. Though we have to say it’s looking promising. And still a bit like a Renault Vel Satis.