During the era of carbon monoxide, leaded gasoline and Soviet tanks shelling bridges, the price of oil began to erode the edges of daily life, leaving consumers to reconcile the relentless rising cost of oil with the inability to sacrifice their own health. In response, Americans redoubled their pursuit of gasoline-free cars.
Traditional aspirational luxury cars offered something different. They might promise the ultimate driving experience, or include scenic or utilitarian detailing, but their appeal was more about social status, a kind of playground status. Boomers in the mid-1980s bragged about the “showstopping” appearance of the Jag XK, the first full-size SUV and presumably the foundation for the SUV market today. Today, they display dazzlingly tricked-out versions of their $50,000 Audi A6 family sedan. Drivers travel this way with respect for their environment and their wallet, each exuding the flexibility of the open road, feeling the sting of their thieving keys, often barely bothering to seek sustenance.
When luxury carmaker Lucid Motors launched its new Lucid Air, the nouveau auto enthusiasts were teased with video images of a space age, hydrogen-powered sports car. But after months of speculation over the car’s capabilities, details and specifications, those videos vanished into mystery. Potential buyers awaited more information about the Lucid Air or canceled reservations.
In contrast to the Jag XK or the now ancient Airwave concept car, the Lucid Air reveals just what can be expected from its zero-emission engine: a passenger-friendly electric sedan. It’s been 10 years since the Ford Focus Electric took EV tech into the mainstream and showed the world the potential of EVs as productivity boosts and convenience, not only for drivers but also for commuters. The Model 3, a comparable vehicle, caused a stir a year ago when it offered a $35,000 starting price, a rare type of range to achieve for a mass-market EV.
By appealing to drivers tired of dealing with smoggy, smoky, gasoline-based fleets, the Lucid Air is well-positioned to compete with Tesla, which sold record numbers of its Model 3 cars in the last quarter. Today, a number of luxury companies are offering electric cars of their own, including Jaguar and Volvo, while Chevy made headlines this month by announcing its Bolt EV will compete with the new Tesla 5G this fall.