And here’s another Tesla rival – or is it?

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Silicon Valley has come up with yet another start-up electric vehicle manufacturer called Lucid Motors, which unveiled a prototype of its first product, a luxury sedan called Air. Claims for this manufacturer include claims of power of up to 745 kW and a driving range of up to 640 kilometers when deliveries start in early 2019.

Lucid Air.
Lucid Air.

Again similar to the Faraday Future, the Lucid Air has been developed by a team led by former Tesla Model S chief engineer Peter Rawlinson.

Lucid, which grew out of American battery company Atieva, plans to manufacture the car at an all-new US$700 million factory to be built in Arizona next year. (Does that sound familiar? It should!)

It is claimed that it is being designed from the outset to be capable of autonomous driving with minimal driver input, regulations permitting.

Lucid claims its batteries – developed in league with Samsung SDI – not only offer best-in-class energy density but a unique chemistry that provides “breakthrough tolerance to repeated fast charging”.

“While many batteries age prematurely if fast-charged regularly, you can fast charge a Lucid battery at will without worries,” it says in the blurb accompanying pictures of the new model released overnight.

The company is also claiming “world-class performance in acceleration, driving range and efficiency” from the drivetrain developed in-house by Lucid engineers in California’s Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco.

Although no performance figures were disclosed, Lucid has a 671 kW prototype powertrain in a Mercedes-Benz Vito van that apparently has been clocked at 2.8 seconds in the 0-100 sprint and can cover 640 km. (The Tesla S P100D is said to go from zero to 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds and cover 613 km.)

If you believe in fortune telling, the first year sales target in 2019 is between 8000 and 10,000 units, rising to 50,000 to 60,000 by 2021.

Like Tesla and its Model 3 and Faraday Future, Lucid is taking customer deposits before production starts or final pricing is set. The first 255 examples of the special launch edition command a fully refundable deposit of US$25,500.

The US media predicts this car will sell for about $160,000, but if that looks to be out of your budget, there is a standard version to follow – thought to be priced about $85,000 – that can be reserved with a deposit of US$2500.

So far, orders are only being taken in the US and Canada.

I wouldn’t rush, if I were you.