This week, Lucid Motors invited Electrek to an unique ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Part 2 of its AMP-1 facility in Casa Grande, Arizona. A part of the festivities included a manufacturing facility tour, an interview with CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson, and our greatest look but at Lucid’s upcoming Gravity SUV. Senior Vice President of Design and Model Derek Jenkins confirmed me round Gravity and shared some insights into what was inside this distinctive electrical SUV.
Yesterday’s go to to AMP-1 was stuffed with pleasure as native politicians joined CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson on stage to chop the ribbon on Part 2 – a 3 million sq. foot growth that can embrace all of Lucid’s manufacturing and warehousing moved to at least one facility, including a stamping machine and a second physique store the place Gravity, the US automaker’s second flagship, will likely be constructed.
Gravity has been a very long time coming, as we first bought to listen to in regards to the SUV again in 2020 on the premiere of the Air sedan, when Lucid briefly teased it. Not in contrast to CEO Peter Rawlinson’s remark yesterday a couple of ‘mid-sized’ Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y competitor within the works as Lucid’s third mannequin.
Particulars of Gravity have been picked up in November 2022, once we noticed some inside pictures earlier than reservations began. A yr later, Gravity was formally unveiled with a slew of thrilling design upgrades, a 450-mile vary and a entrance fascia that has earned the brand new time period ‘frunking’.
Now that the following section of Lucid’s AMP-1 facility is open, Gravity will quickly start manufacturing at scale. On web site in Arizona, I had the chance to kick the SUV’s tires and interview Lucid’s SVP of design and model, Derek Jenkins.
Gravity is Lucid’s subsequent chapter on its option to “mid-market”
Gravity continues to be an upper-end luxurious SUV that competes with Mercedes-Benz, however this EV represents extra than simply Lucid’s subsequent luxurious mannequin. It is a fruits of design parts that counter the nuances and different classes discovered constructing the Air.
Plus, Gravity affords a premium-level ‘yin’ to the Air’s ‘yang’, as a bookend for the ultra-luxury EVs and as a stepping stone to Lucid’s extra reasonably priced ‘mid-size’ and above – if it may keep afloat lengthy sufficient to make that reaching milestone. That mentioned, so much is determined by Gravity’s success, however the crew at Lucid is assured that customers will… gravitate in direction of it.
We have been masking the SUV’s specs since final yr, so it was refreshing to see, contact and even climb into Gravity’s third row and get direct design perception from one of many high minds behind it – Derek Jenkins:
Gravity had its personal distinctive set of options and challenges versus Air to really create the following technology of SUVs and excel in all our distinctive attributes: aerodynamics, effectivity, area utilization, flexibility, dealing with and diploma of off-road functionality.
Jenkins assured us that Gravity would be the most aerodynamic SUV in the marketplace. Whereas Gravity shares a number of design parts with the Air, Lucid has launched some new and thrilling parts that you could be or could not have observed. Positive, you have observed the pleated seat, however the SUV’s cockpit is a very new strategy in comparison with the sedan.
Whereas the motive force show within the Air is within the dashboard, about 35% of it may be hidden from view by the steering wheel. Jenkins informed us that basically bothered him, in order that they moved the curved display beneath the sightline and into full view and carried out a distinct handlebar that’s shorter however nonetheless spherical on the backside, as you’ll be able to see within the pictures up right here.
When manufacturing begins later this yr, Lucid Gravity will be a part of a brief however rising listing of bigger electrical SUVs that promise 6 to 7 third-row seats. For some autos, the third row is a gimmick that may barely maintain youngsters; for others, just like the Kia EV9 for instance, it is nonetheless tight however achievable. Jenkins informed us that area optimization and offering modular cargo area along with a 3rd row of seats have been crucial when designing Gravity:
The A-pillar is admittedly far ahead, pushing the motive force and passenger ahead, and that permits for this actually giant cargo and passenger area. As we’ve had growing contact with not solely Lucid house owners, but additionally household SUV house owners, second and third row area, in addition to cargo flexibility and total cargo are of paramount significance. It actually surpasses every part.
So we spent a lot time optimizing the package deal, studying so much from Air and increasing it. You find yourself with this very lengthy, streamlined cabin, a brief nostril, and as you get nearer to the rear of the automobile there’s quite a lot of taper within the cabin, whereas nonetheless sustaining excellent headroom within the third row. Making a great third row was a giant a part of this.
The Air sedan already advertises the most important frunk within the business, and the Lucid Gravity takes versatile cargo to a different echelon. The rear cupboard space within the trunk is gigantic, and the flexibility to fold the passenger cabin seats fully flat is a large bonus.
Derek informed me he might match an 8-foot surfboard diagonally within the trunk, and Peter Rawlinson informed me he hopes future house owners will in the future use it to haul 2x4s. We’ll see about that, however the area optimization in Gravity is simple. Take a look:
These second-row seats additionally fold flat. Lastly, whereas sitting within the Lucid Gravity with Derek, I requested what he thinks American shoppers will likely be most enthusiastic about after they see this SUV up shut, as I did:
I believe it is two issues. Firstly, I believe the cockpit will likely be a brand new expertise for most individuals as it’s totally different from most of our mainstream opponents and I believe the steering configuration is exclusive. I additionally assume the freight expertise will likely be nice. Not only for micro cargo, but additionally for frunk, trunk, seat flexibility after which human area.
To have the ability to have a automobile with this stage of efficiency, agility and on- and off-road capabilities, and nonetheless are available slightly below the Cadillac Escalade in total inside quantity, that is simply insane. That automobile is 5 toes longer than this factor. Not solely does it need to look nice and drive nice, however it additionally has to do its job. I believe individuals will likely be amazed right here as a result of that is what’s vital on this phase.
Our subsequent step will likely be to get behind the wheel of the Lucid Gravity and see what it delivers from a efficiency standpoint. That chance is already within the works, so anticipate a full report very quickly.
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