That is half three of 4 in our collection testing the Lucid Air Touring, the brand new ‘midrange’ luxurious EV from Lucid Motors. Comply with the protection right here.
If there was one level on my journey that had the Lucid Motors crew involved, it was Donner Cross. The steepest and snowiest space on California’s Interstate 80 – certainly, one of many snowiest factors within the decrease 48, with a mean 411 inches of snow per yr — Donner calls for a toll of respect from all who traverse it.
It isn’t simply the chilly reminiscence of the Donner Get together(Opens in a brand new tab), that notorious group of westward settlers who bought caught right here in 1846, misplaced half their crew, and needed to resort to cannibalism. These winters you’re extra prone to get caught in an hours-long line ready for the California Freeway Patrol to verify whether or not you want snow chains in your tires.
The Lucid Air is all-wheel drive and thus exempt from that requirement, although I wasn’t wanting ahead to convincing CHP that this uncommon low-riding luxurious sedan was extra hardy than it might seem.
Not for the faint of coronary heart: Donner move in 1878, when the Transcontinental Railroad needed to construct ‘snow sheds’
Credit score: Smith Assortment/Gado
The Lucid crew, in the meantime, prompt I would need to swap out the common tires for one thing grippier — which I may theoretically do by way of the corporate’s cellular service van program, Lucid Care(Opens in a brand new tab).
Because it turned out, Donner Cross was brilliant and clear, if effectively beneath freezing, once I traversed it. CHP was nowhere to be discovered. There was nonetheless loads of snow and ice on the street, and deep drifts round it, however the common tires by no means felt something lower than extremely secure.
The Lucid Air stored the street in a bear hug round all method of curves. Solely as soon as did it skid, for a number of seconds. (Bear in mind children, by no means break throughout a skid(Opens in a brand new tab).)
As I drove up and down and round winding roads to Truckee and Lake Tahoe, the largest hazard had nothing to do with the automotive’s dealing with or holding its cost within the freezing chilly. I’d gotten used to the regenerative braking by now, and had nice enjoyable seeing if I may preserve the automotive’s cost degree simply above 50 p.c by way of the downhill slopes.
The Lucid Air Touring take a look at: 10 days within the newest luxurious EV
No, the largest hazard to this driver was the Lucid Air’s huge windshield, which wraps up and round and makes you’re feeling such as you’re in a Jetsons bubble automotive.
Usually there’s not loads to have a look at up there, however right here I used to be passing by a forest of tall pines dusted with what regarded like cake frosting towards a cerulean blue sky. Who wouldn’t be distracted from the street by that wonderful sight?
I used to be reminded that the Touring’s customary possibility(Opens in a brand new tab) provides it an everyday aluminum roof (the glass cover is $4,500 additional). Not solely would that be much less distracting, it might additionally — given how chilly the glass bubble was to the contact — in all probability take loads much less power to warmth.
Talking of heat, the Lucid’s sectionally-heated seats and heated steering wheel (each accessible by way of the middle pill) had been a comfy delight.
They put as many smiles on my face as the new candy rum drink I had by the shores of Tahoe, and helped banish the dangerous reminiscence of my older electrical automotive methods failing on this winter wonderland.
The attention-catching Lucid Air exterior — and nervous, glitchy Lucid Air inside
The Tahoe journey had one different benefit once I returned to Nevada Metropolis: a layer of snow filth gave the automotive some camouflage. It was barely unnerving what number of pedestrians cease and stare when the Lucid rolls by, particularly when the “Clever Micro Lens Array” LED strip on the entrance — no mere headlights for the Lucid Air! – is on.
The “Quantum Grey” colour mannequin I used to be testing seems to be fairly incognito when parked, at the very least; I bought extra feedback on its Florida license plate, which is one thing Californians can’t assist however discover, than the design itself.
My worry of the automotive being a goal for thieves could have been unfounded, however that didn’t cease the automotive itself from sounding prefer it had a foul case of tension. For starters, the Lucid Air will beep at you the second you get within the driver’s seat since you haven’t put your seatbelt on but: I took to responding “OK, mother, I’m doing it!”
The Lucid Air Touring take a look at: How I sapped the electrical automobile’s 425-mile vary
The home the place I used to be staying had a reasonably steep driveway, which the Lucid’s low-slung cameras learn as a street obstruction when driving down it. I additionally encountered a glitch continuously described by different drivers: the Lucid Air often sees lane dividers as an obstruction too.
Oh no, it’s the Lucid Air blue display of demise!
Credit score: Chris Taylor / Mashable
Talking of software program glitches, this was the day I encountered the Lucid Air at its worst. Usually when reversing, the rear view exhibits up on the dashboard display, and the middle pill fills with “encompass view” – a intelligent laptop development that exhibits what the automotive seems to be like from above, and allows you to zoom round it in 3D.
Now, each screens had been clean with a spinning wheel — the Lucid equal of the blue display of demise.
It’s hardly the worst glitch on the planet; I may nonetheless look over my shoulder, in any case. I didn’t encounter it once more after an over-the-air software program replace downloaded that night.
Nonetheless, the occasional feeling that you simply’re driving a $109,000 beta product isn’t precisely encouraging.
The aerodynamic Lucid bubble and mediocre mapping
Lucid Air fail: The navigation system had wished to steer me down a closed street clearly marked ‘personal’.
Credit score: Chris Taylor / Mashable
Again within the Bay Space, the worst of the winter storms had handed, however the wind was nonetheless off-the-charts insane. I didn’t notice this, nevertheless, till I used to be ready at an intersection and noticed bushes bending and leaves scurrying horizontally throughout my visual field.
I’m used to automobiles that can rock at the very least a tiny bit in robust winds, so it was a little bit unnerving that the Lucid Air didn’t budge within the slightest. Its supremely aerodynamic design doesn’t simply let air stream from the entrance to the again to present you a smoother journey, it really works facet to facet too.
The sensation of being in a bubble, untouched by the surface world, was full.
Sadly, the actual world is not going to at all times conform to the Lucid Air’s inferior navigation system. The corporate makes use of Right here Maps somewhat than Google Maps(Opens in a brand new tab) knowledge, a indisputable fact that infuriates drivers on Lucid boards(Opens in a brand new tab).
It’s not simply that the site visitors knowledge masses so slowly that you simply’re often dedicated to a route earlier than you already know all of the choices. It’s that Right here maps typically appear woefully outdated and confused about street entry.
I counted 3 times when the Lucid tried to ship me the incorrect means down a one-way road, and as soon as — heading to a trailhead simply outdoors of Berkeley — the place it tried to divert me by a collection of personal roads, one among which was chained off.
The automotive’s sense of privilege ran headlong into actuality. Lucid Motors hasn’t mentioned when CarPlay or Android Auto are coming to the lineup. However given the crying want for Google Maps and extra nuanced instructions, it may’t be quickly sufficient.
Half 4, which covers general impressions, will publish Saturday, Feb. 18. Comply with the protection right here.