Aston deal validates “the most advanced electric motor in the world”, says Lucid Air creator
Former Tesla Model S chief engineer plans to shake the car industry up again
Off the back of the deal between Lucid Motors and Aston Martin, Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors, has stated that Aston’s decision to go with Lucid rubber stamps its claim to have 'the most advanced electric motor in the world'.
In case you missed it, “the whole partnership with Aston Martin is worth in excess of 450 million". In an interview with TG.com, Rawlinson is careful to not tell us anything we don’t already know (boo) but claims the money isn’t the point.
“It's great for us because it's a validation point of our technology. Yeah, it's got $450 million, thank you. But the real point is it's a validation.” Fair enough.
Lucid Motors is a relatively unknown brand. It’s been associated with the Formula E racing series for a number of seasons and it's gaining traction since its only model, the Lucid Air exceeds a 500-mile range. Rawlinson knows the Aston deal, however, puts the brand well and truly on the map.
If you didn’t know already, this is the same person who engineered the Tesla Model S – a car that successfully challenged the entire conversation around electric vehicles a decade ago.
Unlike other car makers, Aston’s position is unique. Where other brands have to work with technology developed in-house within the family of brands – think Skoda for VW Group, or Jaguar to Tata – Aston Martin’s chairman Lawrence Stroll has had the privilege of shopping about and cherry-picking the best technologies for the iconic brand’s future EV plans.
Rawlinson pulls the compact electric motor from a suitcase small enough to make into the cabin of any budget airline. With all its gubbins attached, Rawlinson says the motor is capable of over 657bhp.
“There are three elements of technology we're giving them,” Rawlinson explains, "the twin rear drive unit – which has got two motors, two inverters. There's a separate motor inverter to each of the rear wheels. [Secondly] battery modules, so they can put them in a layout which suits their car – they'll design them into a pack [and] the ‘Wunderbox technology’, which is a two-way charger and inverter set [combined].”
Though Rawlinson acknowledges that battery chemistry plays a part, he vociferously advocates for development in the motor and inverter – especially if electric vehicles need to be mass produced at lower costs.
“We need to go further with less batteries through ultra-high technology. We'll be able to mass produce cars more affordably [if there are less], because the battery's the most expensive part of an electric car.”
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It looks like Lucid Motors will be to electric motor technology what James Dyson was to vacuum cleaner design. The approach is already being imitated by other car makers. But for now, Rawlinson delights in reminding us that it's Lucid’s motors that are superior.
“They will make our car go further than anyone else's, whatever battery you put in it.”