Lucid Drops The Gravity At The Los Angeles Auto Show
Lucid Motors made a splash with the Air and has fleshed out its line with more affordable offerings since its introduction. The high price points have set Lucid apart as a producer of extremely high-end vehicles, which translates to lower production volumes, a la Ferrari and Lamborghini, typically bolstered by juicier profit margins that come along with those price tags.
For established automakers, that’s a viable business model, but it has proved to be challenging for Lucid as a startup as it strives to build the factories to produce the vehicles, the complex global supply chains to keep them supplied with the right parts, and the teams of employees to support them along the way. The Air has enjoyed moderate success, but according to Lucid’s latest Q3 2023 investor update, demand continues to lag behind Lucid’s production capacity at its AMP-1 factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. Just the same, Lucid continues to chug along with its plans to ramp up AMP-2, where it will build the highly anticipated Lucid Gravity luxury SUV.
The Lucid Gravity launched at the Los Angeles Auto show on November 16th to the public, and CleanTechnica was able to spend some time with Lucid’s key executives and see the car ahead of the show. The Gravity represents Lucid’s vision for the ultimate full-sized SUV and comes wrapped in the finest interior appointments one could imagine. It’s got everything from massage seats to a choice between vegan leather or cow. You can get it with heated and ventilated seats, and massage seats to help you stay relaxed as you gaze at the massive 34″ wraparound display up front.
Lucid prides itself on the look of its vehicles and regularly leverages design to optimize both the performance and the aerodynamics of the vehicle. For large vehicles like the Gravity, balancing usable interior with the hefty exterior dimensions that typically come with 7-seater vehicles was a significant challenge. On the outside, the Gravity features a low sloping windshield that provides sweeping views from the inside for the driver and passenger.
A sleek aero bumper cover and Lucid’s signature lightbar make it clear it is a part of the family. Looking at it from the side, the Gravity looks like a compact SUV hiding its true size underneath the sleek lines of its design. When we saw the Gravity, Lucid had the suspension, which can be raised or lowered slightly depending on the setting, set to the medium height.
Moving to the rear of the vehicle, the Gravity starts to look a little bit more like a minivan, with a sharp wing up top of the oversized tailgate cutting the airflow as it passes over the vehicle. At a touch of a button, the large tailgate swoops open to reveal a voluminous trunk with a sub-trunk area below the floorline where the rear seats can fold for extra cargo space. It’s no surprise, and actually a bit exciting to see an SUV builder integrating some of the more utilitarian features of minivans into SUVs to deliver as much capability as possible.
Up front, Lucid took a different approach to the frunk, cutting the lid opening down into the bumper area to offer a lower entry height into the frunk area. This makes it easier to load cargo into the locking hidden compartment and makes the frunk an inviting place to sit. Lucid was clearly excited about it and built a new seat attachment that folds out of the frunk area and provides a padded seating area. They even built a pair of cupholders for drinks into the frunk liner. It’s a cute loveseat-style addition that I could imagine using to watch the sunset or to drink a cup of coffee on an especially crisp morning at the start of a road trip.
The Lucid Gravity lives at the intersection of three worlds. First, Lucid’s hardcore engineering delivers perhaps the most powerful and efficient powertrain in the world. We experienced this firsthand in the Lucid Sapphire, and the Gravity will be built with the same tech under the hood. Raw power and torque look great on paper, but what really makes them shine is how Lucid was able to digitally tune the driving experience with its software adjustable suspension. This changes the way the car feels and handles in meaningful ways, adjusting both the suspension characteristics and the amount of power it lays down in each driving mode.
Second, the software-defined user experience in the Lucid Gravity allows the driver to configure the vehicle to their exact tastes. They’ve really gone deep with the software and seem to have done a magical job of allowing for an impressive amount of customization of the experience of the inside of the vehicle with the software. It lets drivers truly customize the look and feel of the vehicle to give it the right personality they want to spend time with when driving and charging. Some people want to chill when in traffic, while others get pumped up and want to rip in and out of the lanes. The Gravity meets you where you are and tailors the in-car digital experience to get you where you want to be both physically and emotionally.
And finally, the Lucid Gravity is a luxury vehicle at its core, delivering the pinnacle of indulgence and comfort for the driver, passenger, and up to five passengers. This includes things like heated and ventilated massage seats, the finest of materials, and a refined design that would feel at home in any high-end home office. For those looking to be driven around in the Gravity, sturdy tables flip down from the front seats, making it easy to work, play, or just grab a snack while you’re heading to your destination.
Performance & Engineering
We’ll have to wait to spend some time behind the wheel, but we expect the Lucid Gravity to deliver the same class-leading performance from its one-, two-, or three-motor configurations as we see in the Lucid Air range. We expect the full range of powertrain options to make their way to the Gravity, ranging from the rear-wheel drive Pure experience up to the mind-numbing performance of the Sapphire.
The Gravity is a larger vehicle than the Air, so the team got to work optimizing its aerodynamics to help it to glide through the air with as little resistance as possible. They achieved a marvel, achieving a coefficient of drag of 0.23x. Being a 7-seater SUV, there are certain physical limitations that just can’t be overcome, but Lucid has done a masterful job of optimizing the frontal area and aerodynamics of the Gravity to maximize its ability to swim through the air.
The Lucid Gravity will ride on a front and rear adjustable air suspension system. This makes it easy to tune the suspension on the fly to optimize the passenger experience within the vehicle, as well as the performance of the Gravity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running down the 405 in Los Angeles or heading out on a dirt trail amongst the Joshua trees of the Southern California desert. It’s ready.
On the range front, the Gravity will have the same battery pack options as the Air, though the configuration of the individual modules inside the pack will be a bit different. Lucid opted to put a few of the modules under the two front seats in the Gravity instead of under the rear seats like they did in the Air.
With luxury seating for 7 inside, the Gravity is on the large side, and is even a bit longer than the Air. To compensate for this, Lucid will be offering the Gravity with an optional rear steering package that will allow it to have the same agility as a smaller car. Its larger front cross-section and heavier weight translates to a slightly lower range than the Air with the same battery pack and motor configuration.
Up front, Lucid redesigned the interior layout of the Gravity to optimize the space for the higher seating position of an SUV. They trimmed down the interference from the steering wheel by moving from a more traditional steering wheel design to a squircle — or squared-off circle — design. Lucid’s steering wheel is almost a rectangle, which puts the bulk of the wheel below the center hub. This translates to much better visibility of the wide center display that wraps around the driver which, according to Derek Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Design and Brand at Lucid, was one of their focal points with the interior of the Gravity.
They shrunk the vertical profile of the steering wheel to maximize visibility of the large 34″ curved screen that sits above it on the dash. This allows the driver to adjust their vertical seating position to see over the wheel to the bottom of the screen. From there Lucid filled in what would normally be empty dash space in the driver’s line of sight with the rest of the screen. The result is a line of sight out front of the vehicle that feels very full, with the screen running vertically from the top of the steering wheel to the bottom of the windshield. It’s a beautiful screen and it will be interesting to see if Lucid can put the extra display real estate to use in a functional way.
A smaller landscape-oriented display lives just above the center console and serves as the home for all of the shared controls of the vehicle. It lets the driver and the passenger interact with common items like the HVAC, the music, volume controls, seat controls, etc. Framing up the central display is a small touch blade comprised of a center volume wheel and a few buttons on either side that make it easy for the driver and passenger to quickly adjust the climate controls and other common items.
Lucid is pushing boldly into the SUV space with the Gravity and has delivered what looks to be an extremely functional luxury SUV. Most luxury SUVs these days are 5-seater builds, and that’s doubly true for the ultra premium segment where owners buy the car with plans to have a driver up front taking them from place to place. In this configuration, the third row of seats can just be folded down out of sight and out of mind.
The world is in need of more 7-seater fully electric options, and it’s great to see the Gravity filling in this gap. With its sales of the Air already dipping, the company might be pinning its future viability on the success of the Gravity itself. Whether or not there is sufficient demand for an ultra premium 7-seater SUV like the Gravity remains to be seen, but it feels like a stretch at price tags that will range from the low $80k range for a rear-wheel drive build up to north of $250k for a fully loaded Lucid Gravity Sapphire.
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