Lucid Air Touring review: EV charge range factors you should never forget

This is part two of four in our series testing the Lucid Air Touring, the new mid-range luxury EV from Lucid Motors. Follow the coverage here.

I didn’t write down the exact range the Lucid Air promised when I set out to drive from Berkeley to Nevada City. All I know is that the range was at least double the 140 mile distance between the two cities. In theory, I could have made it to Lake Tahoe on one charge.

Having such a long range compared to what the Fiat can handle might have made me a little cocky though. Motorway driving in the Lucid Air really is its sweet spot: the car just annihilates the distance. It’s like you pick a spot on the road ahead, you think “I’d like to go there” and practically teleport yourself.

The suspension is so smooth, the shape of the car so aerodynamic, the acceleration so effortless and quiet, you might not believe the 90 mph gauge that suddenly and improbably appears in the center of the dash. Oops!

This even applies when accelerating uphill. The Lucid Air loves accelerating them even more than it loves accelerating them down. It can’t get enough! “Call that a hill?” The EV seemed to pop the question early and often even steepest street in the Bay Area(Opens in a new tab). “Barely felt! Come on, give me a real challenge!”

The rear of the Lucid Air at dusk with a red LED strip and a view over the Bay Area

Dusty at dusk: The Lucid Air Touring returning from the Sierra Nevada mountains
Credit: Chris Taylor / Mashable

The problem was, this ride included a much of the hill. It’s a 2,300 foot vertical drop to Nevada City. Was my fearless mountain ride the reason for the precipitous drop in estimated range, or did the 35-degree temp up there that day cut into the battery?

All I know is that I was shocked when I got to Nevada City to find that the Lucid Air only had 10 miles of range left. And even more shocked to discover that there are no public charging stations in Nevada City.

If I had tried to make it to Tahoe, the holy Lucid Air would have been as dead as my old first-gen Prius whose battery would have been wiped out by Tahoe’s brutal winters.

Lucid Air EV charging experience and cost

The Lucid Air screen showing notifications and a diagram of the vehicle.

Lucid Nightmares: The key fob doesn’t register even though it’s in the car and its charging slows down due to the temperature.
Credit: Chris Taylor / Mashable

Luckily I was able to borrow a cup of electricity from friends who live in the former gold rush town. And a cup feels like the right measure here. When I connected the normal mains charger to their garage, the car told me it would take 177 hours to recharge the entire battery this way. Don’t worry Lucid, just drink what you can.

I was content with the extra 40 miles this setup gave me overnight: more than enough to get me to a charging station in Grass Valley, conveniently next to a supermarket and a hiking trail where I could easily kill a few hours. Total fueling cost: $38.40.


The Lucid Air Touring test: 10 days in the latest luxury EV

Unfortunately, forty miles wasn’t enough to get me to the next one Electrify America(Opens in a new tab) Charging station in Auburn. Lucid has a great deal with EA where you get free fast recharge for three years with your Air purchase. No card required, no tapping the app: plug in and the Lucid Air is automatically recognized.

Later, on my way home from the Sierras, I stopped by the Auburn EA station (oddly located in the parking lot of a Motel 6) and the Starbucks across the street, where I held meetings for an hour while the Lucid electrons at a “hyperspeed ” 350 kilowatts. That’s 100 kW more than the peak value of the Tesla Supercharger stations.

The result was that the EA station added about 20 miles of range at a time minute. And unlike Tesla in the US, it wasn’t selfish with a proprietary plug. Although Lucid owners are preferred customers, the station was open to pretty much anyone with an electric vehicle.

Now I had enough range to bring the Lucid Air Touring to its true winter time—over California’s famously treacherous Donner Pass and on to Lake Tahoe.

Part 3, covering range and charging, will be released on Friday February 17th. Follow the coverage here.

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