The Lucid Air Dream has over 500 miles of range -- worth it or a giant splurge?

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The new high end versions of the Lucid Air luxury electric car -- the Grand Touring and Dream -- report a range of over 500 miles from a 113kwh battery. They do this at a high price -- $130K and $170K! What do you really get for 500 miles of range? It's obviously nice, but is it worth it at this high cost?

I outline just what that range will get you in real driving in a new article on Forbes.com at The Lucid Air Dream has over 500 miles of range -- worth it or a giant splurge?.

Comments

Agree that the extra range is largely a pointless exercise, and that people would be much better off renting on the occasions they really need a long range vehicle.
I can't imagine said rental vehicle being an electric car for a while yet given the higher cost of the vehicle.
Renting for long trips makes sense in another way too, most short trips are single passenger, but long trips are frequently holidays with a family and luggage.
Perhaps electric vehicle sellers could team up with a rental company to offer a certain number of free rentals per year?
Such a move might even have a beneficial effect on right sizing car purchases, buyers no longer getting the biggest car they can afford for the very occasional time they need it.
I'm hopeful that we aren't going to see a range arms race along with increasing mass for already heavy electric vehicles. The cost in lost efficiency, road damage, wasted resources and lower pedestrian safety is too high. History doesn't fill me with confidence though.

Another thing I have proposed is that the vehicle be designed with a way to insert a module into the trunk, or Frunk, possibly via a door on the side with some rails to hold a heavy thing. Said thing would be an add-on battery pack, or even a motorcycle engine generator like the BMW i3 REX has. Yes, the latter would burn gasoline (rarely) but remove all range questions and allow all territory, and the amount of gasoline burned (only on treks of more than 250 miles between charging stations) would probably be not so bad environmentally, compared to carrying all that weight around all the time.

But if the gasoline is a no-no, a battery pack you can pick up on the way into the back country would work just fine, though it would cost you some cargo room, but it's cargo room you would have lost with a giant battery anyway, except always.

I think for occasional use ICE range extenders would be acceptable. At some point any environmental benefit of electric power is lost because of the exponential weight cost of increasing range. The break even point is probably much greater than 500 miles, but we'd still like to keep as many gains as possible.
Would the frunk be large enough for the size of battery that would make an appreciable difference? If not you might need to go down the battery trailer route.

A trailer is an option with a lot of downsides. Frunk could hold a fair bit though might put too much weight forward. I think a deliberate slot under the trunk or seats is best. It can be an "install" which takes 20 minutes if it's for a couple of road trips a year. Ideally the space is deliberately allocated if it's for a battery, and left open (or available as extra storage) when not in use.

But I would be fine with the REX. You need a port where the inserted generator can vent exhaust, get cooling airflow, and be filled with gasoline. That would need to be designed in.

The design would even be that you turn on the generator before you need it. ie. if you say "we're going 600 miles today" you turn on the generator at the start of the day -- the generator would not on its own be able to power the car once it gets very low. This is a big flaw in the USA version of the BMW i3 REX. US law demanded the generator not kick in until the battery was low. European version could be used at the start. There was a hack to switch the car to Euro mode, which you needed to drive from SF to Lake Tahoe, because in USA mode it would drive on battery to the foothills, then try to climb the mountain on gasoline which it could not do. In Euro mode, you made it to the foothills with a full battery, then battery plus generator gave you extra power to get up the hills and keep battery alive.

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