PIF-backed US car maker Lucid to produce fastest-charging electric vehicle

Vehicles will be produced at the company's new factory in Arizona and delivery will begin in the first quarter of next year

Workers assemble the Lucid Air prototype electric vehicle, manufactured by Lucid Motors Inc., at the company's headquarters in Newark, California, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. The final specs and design of the Lucid Air are due to be unveiled at an event in September and executives say customers can now expect delivery of the first batch of Airs in spring 2021. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-backed American electric vehicle producer Lucid Motors has claimed that its upcoming luxury car will be the fastest-charging EV in the market.

The new sedan, Lucid Air, which will be unveiled on September 9, will charge at a speed of more than 32 kilometres per minute, under controlled conditions, the California-based firm said. However, in real-world conditions on the road, a charge of just 20 minutes should cover up to 483 kilometres.

“We designed every aspect of the Lucid Air and its platform in-house to be hyper-efficient, from the powertrain to the aerodynamics … we have set several new benchmarks through these efforts including the longest range EV,” said Eric Bach, vice president of hardware engineering at the company.

Its rapid method of charging is achieved through an ultra-high, 900V+ electrical architecture, lithium-ion battery cells and a highly sophisticated battery and thermal management system, the firm said.

“With our 900V+ electrical architecture and the proprietary Wunderbox, we have significantly increased the speed of energy getting into, around and even out of the vehicle, delivering the world’s fastest charging EV packed with future-ready charging features,” Mr Bach said.

Wunderbox is the company’s onboard charging unit that combines several usually separated functionalities into one housing.

In 2018, the PIF signed agreements worth more than $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) with Lucid Motors to help the car maker launch Lucid Air. The deal was aimed at providing Lucid with the necessary funding to launch its first EV.

Consumers can currently pre-order the vehicle on the company's website by paying a refundable deposit of $1,000. The company has not disclosed the exact price of the vehicle, but industry analysts said it could sell for more than $70,000.

Vehicles will be produced at Lucid’s new factory in Arizona and delivery will begin in the first quarter of next year.

Lucid Motors' launch could challenge the dominance of Tesla – another PIF-backed company – in the EV market.

Tesla is currently the market leader, selling 370,000 units globally last year, according to McKinsey’s EV index. The car maker had a market share of about 16 per cent last year, up from 12 per cent in 2018.