Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Lucid Motors announced that its forthcoming all-electric sedan, the Lucid Air, will be the “fastest charging electric vehicle ever offered.” The company claims the Air will have the capability to charge at rates of up to 20 miles per minute — which translates to 300 miles in about 20 minutes.
This charging time is possible by using a 900-volt charger with a peak charging rate of over 300 kW. By comparison, Tesla’s V3 Supercharger can pump out 250 kW, which comes out to around 15 miles per minute of charge.
Lucid is teaming up with Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, to build a network of fast chargers like this. These chargers, which will use Combined Charging System standard chargers, will be rolled out to some of Electrify America’s 2,000 public charging stations, though the exact number and timeline are still unknown.
The news follows Lucid’s announcement last week that the Air will have a record-breaking range of 517 miles — a 28 percent improvement over the longest-range EV currently available, the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus.
Electric vehicles often take a while to charge, but the exact time varies from vehicle to vehicle and relies on a host of variables like the power source and the vehicle’s charger capacity. Automakers have been laboring to bring that charge time down in order to broaden the appeal of EVs.
In that respect, Lucid thinks it has a winner on its hands. The company is also developing a home charger that it claims will be “the first AC charging stations with bi-directional charging ever offered.” Most EV chargers are unidirectional, meaning electricity flows from the electrical grid to the vehicle. Lucid claims its chargers will flow two ways, thus bidirectional. This will allow customers to use their Lucid Air to power their homes or “off-grid vacation properties,” Lucid Motors said.
The advances in range and charging times aren’t surprising given Lucid’s history. Founded in 2007 as battery maker Atieva, the California EV startup was originally focused on being more of a supplier in the budding world of electric vehicles. But the company ultimately rebranded as Lucid Motors in 2016 and set its sights on making a luxury electric sedan.
In the interim, Atieva had raised a few hundred million dollars and had a revenue stream from its battery business, which boasts all-electric racing series Formula E as a customer. What better stress test for your power-delivery system than high-speed performance racing?