Lucid Motors officially announced its next electric vehicle, the three-row Gravity SUV. Based on the same platform as Lucid’s only other vehicle, the Air sedan, the Gravity is the California-based company’s first foray into the lucrative and intensely competitive SUV market.
Lucid says the SUV will get up to 440 miles of range, can accelerate 0–60 mph in under 3.5 seconds. It will have a base price of $80,000 and is expected to go into production in late 2024.
But the landscape looks remarkably different than it did three years ago when Lucid first teased the possibility of an electric SUV. The luxury EV market, in particular, is intensely competitive and overly saturated at this time, with offerings from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and BMW. Experts say the early adopter era of EVs is over, and more affordable vehicles are what’s needed most — not another sub-$100,000 luxury model.
Moreover, it’s been a tough year for Lucid. The company slashed its production targets recently, sending its stock price plummeting to an all-time low. Lucid manufacturing costs are enormous, and the company loses a staggering $227,000 on each car it sells, according to The Wall Street Journal. It continues to struggle to find customers for its EVs.
On top of all this dour news, the Gravity emerges as a sign of new hope for Lucid. Founded as Atieva in 2007, the company got its start making high-performance batteries for all the Formula E racing teams. It changed its name to Lucid Motors in 2016 with the promise to make a midsized sedan that feels like a massive, roomy flagship vehicle. An SUV was soon to follow.
That SUV took some time getting here, thanks to the pandemic and other delays. But now that it’s getting a proper reveal, the Gravity looks every bit the follow-up to the luxurious Air sedan. First and foremost, it looks to be a range leader in the EV space with 440 miles on a single charge. That’s more than other three-row electric SUVs, including the Tesla Model X (348 miles), Kia EV9 (230 miles), Rivian R1S (400 miles for the dual motor version), and Volvo EX90 (300 miles).
Lucid, of course, uses its range estimates to boast better-than-average battery capacity and performance. The Air was originally estimated to get over 520 miles of range on a single charge, though subsequent range tests found it to be significantly less. And range estimates can’t be viewed in a vacuum, with outside temperatures, driving styles, and road types all having an effect on the end number.
Design wise, the Gravity is replete with soft curves and undulating lines. The aerodynamic profile expertly hides an elongated cabin and makes for an overall shape that is sleek and signals forward momentum. A theme that continues to the rear of the vehicle: a sharply angled C pillar seems to resemble an arrow firing ahead. Lucid says it’s targeting a drag coefficient of less than 0.24, which the company claims is unsurpassed by any other three-row SUV on sale today.
But just because it’s sporty doesn’t mean it can’t do SUV stuff like hauling and towing. Lucid says thanks to the “most power-dense EV motors in production globally,” the Gravity will be able to carry as much as 1,500lbs of payload or tow a maximum 6,000lbs. That puts it just under the Ford F-150 Lightning in terms of capacity, which is kind of insane to think about it.
Like the Lightning, the Gravity will have a “substantial frunk” — though we don’t get any more details about cargo capacity or power outlets. We do have this image of two bikini-clad women sitting in the frunk, so at least there’s that.
With the rise of fast-charging, 800-volt architecture EVs, Lucid of course had to go one better. The Gravity sports a 900-volt architecture, adding as much as 200 miles in just 15 minutes when connected to a 350kW fast charger.
“Gravity will take our customers farther with less batteries and therefore using less precious energy,” Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said in a press release. “Its smaller, lighter, and higher technology battery pack means fewer precious metals and minerals, less energy to charge, less electricity consumed, less pressure upon the grid, and a lighter weight and more dynamic vehicle. When we say we’re here to advance the technology, this is what we mean — this is truly sustainability in action.”
Much like with the Air, Lucid is stressing roominess and cargo space as unique selling points with the Gravity. Both second- and third-row seats can be folded flat to reveal a vast 112 cubit feet of cargo space. That’s up there with the Ford Explorers and Toyota Sequoias of the world, and it should help nab those customers who find the current crop of EVs a bit too cramped. Seven passengers can fit comfortably inside the Gravity, Lucid says.
Two major screens dominate the interior: the 34-inch curved OLED display that floats above the steering wheel and serves as both instrument cluster and infotainment screen; and a second Pilot Panel in the center console that can also fold up to reveal extra storage. The Gravity will feature the next generation of Lucid’s operating system software, which can be updated over the air.
There will also be a suite of features designed to promote “well being” These include Lucid Sanctuary, vaguely described as “a revolutionary set of experiences carefully designed to introduce tranquility on the go”; and Lucid Spaces, in which a single tap “transforms the cabin into a serene oasis, immersing drivers in the soothing atmosphere of locations like Lake Tahoe or Joshua Tree.” Hopefully it will help reduce road rage incidents when stuck in traffic.
We don’t know much else about the Gravity, except that production is expected to start in late 2024. Lucid is majority owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and earlier this year the company announced plans to open a factory in Jeddah city. Whether the company can overcome its financial hurdles before it starts production of the Gravity will depend a lot on this relationship with the oil-rich nation.