On the road a few days ago, I spotted a Tesla Model S driving several car-lengths ahead of me with the custom license plate: “60 in 3.”
To those familiar with the machine, the statement was an obvious reference to its incredible ability to accelerate, an ability few gas-driven sports cars have been able to match.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) isn’t just the king of the electric car market; it’s also the definition of performance — for all vehicles, not just the electrical variety.
And it’s that potent cocktail — the mixture of style and speed — that has defined the company since the release of its very first model, the Roadster, almost a decade ago.
Since that first product hit the road back in 2008, Elon Musk’s pride and joy has redefined the historically boring, economy-focused vehicle class.
Today, thanks almost entirely to Tesla’s ongoing effort to bring excitement to the EV market, most people don’t even remember the years when the words “electric” and “car” inspired images of dumpy, small-wheeled, underpowered road-going appliances.
Certainly a pioneer and a milestone for what promises to be one of the most important industries of the 21st century, Tesla is no longer alone in its quest to convert gear-heads into lithium-ion junkies.
Standard Equipment: 1,000 Horsepower
Today, there is a competitor, and it’s called Lucid.
Backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, this California-based carmaker plans to start production of its first model in 2018… and by the look of things, it’s putting Tesla’s market share directly in its crosshairs.
According to preliminary reports, the new vehicle — which aims to compete directly with the Model S in the executive sedan class — is already boasting some extreme figures.
The Lucid sedan will come standard with 1,000 horsepower and a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack offering 300 miles of range, according to a report from Automotive News.
That should be good for a 0–60 time of under three seconds, thus making the choice for prospective buyers, who would have to decide between it and the top-tier Model S’s 315-mile range with similar acceleration, that much more difficult.
To put things into perspective, the fastest, most expensive street-legal Ferrari ever only offers about 960 horsepower (albeit it with considerably less mass).
More Than a Copy… An Evolution
Lucid’s plan, however, isn’t to simply offer a similar product under a different name. The goal is to take Tesla’s benchmark performance to a new level.
The specs quoted in the Automotive News report (which will be available to the general public on December 14) apply to the base model of the Lucid electric car.
The company also plans to offer a 130kWh battery pack, affording 400 miles of range.
Lucid sweetened the deal earlier this week when it announced that Samsung SDI would supply lithium-ion cells and that it would use a new cell design with greater energy density and tolerance for repeated fast charging than current cells.
Sound too good to be true? Maybe not.
Following yet again in Tesla’s footsteps, Lucid unveiled last month plans for its own version of a “gigafactory,” to be erected in Casa Grande, Arizona — eventually employing 2,000 people.
Parts and components will arrive at the plant from suppliers nearby in Mexico’s state of Sonora.
By 2022, total investment in the plant will reach $700 million, according to Lucid manufacturing chief Brian Barron, according to Forbes magazine.
Lucid is still in its very early stages, for sure, but, as Tesla has proven, the demand for this kind of vehicle is easily strong enough to support a direct competitor — especially if that competitor plans to put up the kind of numbers published in these preliminary reports.
There will likely be a waiting period, as there is for all of Tesla’s existing products, but only benefits to be had for prospective consumers in what will surely be a heated game of one-upmanship.
Until next time,
Pro Trader Today