When it comes to bench-racing battery-electric vehicles, all is well and good when comparing standing-start acceleration times. But the only number anyone really cares about is how far a vehicle can go on a single charge. Rightly or wrongly, US car buyers have decided that the long charging times for a BEV (relative to refueling with liquid hydrocarbons) must be offset with enormous range. And when it comes to a long-legged BEV, there’s a new king of the hill.
On Thursday, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued its official range rating for the Lucid Air. The Air was probably going to do well here—Lucid-commissioned independent testing determined that a combination of a very low drag coefficient and a hefty 113 kWh battery pack would deliver over 517 miles (832 km) of range. But the EPA says Lucid has done even more than that: the Air Dream Edition has been rated at 520 miles (837 km) on a single charge.
“Crucially, this landmark has been achieved by Lucid’s world-leading in-house EV technology, not by simply installing an oversize battery pack,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Group. “Our race-proven 900V battery and BMS technology, our miniaturized drive units, coupled with our Wunderbox technology endow Lucid Air with ultra-high efficiency, enabling it to travel more miles from less battery energy.”
The EPA ratings also provide a handy demonstration of the effect of wheel size on BEV range. When fitted with the smaller 19-inch wheels, the 933 hp (695 kW) Air Dream Edition has a range of 520 miles. But if it’s fitted with the bigger 21-inch wheels, this drops to 481 miles (774 km). (Bigger wheels create more drag, and drag is a big enemy of range efficiency.)
Two other Lucid Air variants have also received their official EPA range estimates. The even more powerful (1,111 hp/828 kW) Air Dream Performance Edition can travel 471 miles (758 km) on 19-inch wheels or 451 miles (725 km) on 21-inch wheels. And the Air Grand Touring, which makes do with 800 hp (597 kW), is nearly as long-legged as the Dream Edition, hitting 516 miles (830 km) on the smaller wheels and 469 miles (755 km) on the bigger ones.