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The name of the car is Lucid.
“It connotes clarity, transparency,” said Peter Rawlinson, chief technology officer. “We’re a California car company with a fresh California spirit.”
The Lucid, due out in late 2018, is a luxury electric car that kicks with 1,000 horsepower and runs from zero to 60 in under 3 seconds.
It will come in two models — one with a range over 300 miles, the other 400 miles or more, far more than any electric car on the road today or announced for the future.
Intended to prowl through crowded cities and sold around the world, it’s sized like an Mercedes E-class, but with all the room of an S-class interior. It’s a design made possible, according to Derek Jenkins, vice president of design, by proprietary battery technology that can be flexibly installed underneath to allow more space in the cabin.
If a buyer wants the option, the rear seats will recline like a business class airline seat. Option or not, there’s plenty of legroom. “Part of the inspiration of our vehicle is the look and feel of an executive jet,” Rawlinson said.
The car will be packed with sensors for semi-autonomous and autonomous driving.
It will be expensive. The company isn’t talking price, but well over $100,000 is a safe guess.
“Think of it as the new paradigm for the environmentally conscious chairman of the board,” Rawlinson said.
The company plans to turn out 50,000 to 60,000 of these cars a year, however, and the company will set up a car-sharing arrangement so some buyers of lesser rank can better justify the costs.
Lucid is based in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley, not far from Tesla headquarters.
Rawlinson, by the way, was chief technology officer at Tesla and was instrumental in the creation of the Model S.
Jenkins is a highly regarded designer best known for reviving Mazda’s design, including the MX-5 Miata.
If you are unfamiliar with Lucid, you’re not alone. “We’re the car company nobody ever heard of,” said Rawlinson.
It started out as a battery company named Atieva to sell batteries for buses and other commercial vehicles. It’s funded mainly by Chinese investors, including Jiu Yueting, who also is financing another electric car start-up, Faraday Future, based in Gardena.
The car will be unveiled sometime next month. The site of its manufacturing facility is also expected to be announced soon.
Those attending the L.A. Auto Show might see a camouflaged Lucid make an appearance on surrounding streets.