February 23 is a special day for me. It’s the day that we took delivery of our first EV in 2012. This means that five years ago, today, I joined the rEVolution and picked up my BMW Active E from Long Beach BMW.
I didn’t even have Level 2 charging installed in the garage on that day and had to plug in the car on 110V.
In fact, it wasn’t until several weeks have passed until I got our Level 2 charger installed under a grant that covered the charger, but not the installation. It’s a 30A J1772 charger from Chargepoint (CT-500) that is still going strong today (I use this for the Model S predominantly). It’s lost it’s networked feature as the modem in the device is no longer supported.
Time does heal old wounds and I don’t pout when I say Active E anymore.
Then again, we did add the Roadster and Model S to our garage as we wait for our Model 3 and whatEVer else will take our EV future.
It helps that I can borrow the Roadster when my wife feels generous in letting me use it.
These next two pictures are from when we first picked the Roadster up…
and how it looks a week ago.
Here’s the Model S when we picked it up at the Tesla Factory
at its first Level 2 charge on our delivery weekend first roadtrip (in Sonoma for this shot).
And this recent shot when I was using the CHAdeMO charger near the Fountain Valley Supercharger from almost two weeks ago.
And a little nostalgia for those few months that we had more EVs than drivers in 2013-2014.
That was all three cars scheduled to charge at various times throughout the night on their own chargers.
Unfortunately, didn’t have a better shot of all three cars… Here’s a classic shot of the Model S and Roadster on the Model S first day home.
In fact, for the past five years since we picked up the Active E With all three cars (and various loaners and the few EV rentals we’ve done), we’ve added approximately 204,000 electric miles vs. 24,000 gasoline miles (both our own use, and when we lend our lone ICE car to visitors, as well as our use of ICE rental cars). What’s funny is how much fanfare I had when I first hit 100,000 electric miles, and 200,000 went by and I didn’t even pay attention to it.
To be fair, we did replace ONE of the four tires about 30,000 miles or so ago for a tire failure from driving over a road hazard. But the wear was pretty even, and we replaced all four tires when the tread was around 4/32 for two of the tires, and kept the other two (at 5/32) as “back-up”. The tires are “special order” and I would hate to have a failure and not have a pair ready to swap out (at the same tread.)
I guess what’s really special with driving EV is how “normal” it is for us now. In the beginning everything felt like it was going to be a challenge. How we managed to get 54,321 miles in the Active E in the two years that we had it depended a lot on available Level 2 charging. The infrastructure was there and we planned our trips so that we can recover miles when we got to our destinations. With the Roadster, we didn’t need to plan as much. We often had enough range to get back home. Now with the Model S, it’s even more interesting. We went Here, There, and EVerywhere as well as the Long Way Round to the Gigafactory Party. But the fact of the matter is, we picked up the Model S at the Fremont Factory. Went to Sonoma for wine and then back down to Southern California in November 2013, without much planning. That’s what EV ownership should be like. Pick up and go.
Are we there yet? To me, I’m there. But to the rest of the world, perhaps we’re getting there. It’s been a great 5 years and 200,000 miles of EV driving, and I’m looking for more and more EV adventures. Stay with us and see where electricity will take us.
On Saturday morning, I drove to meet the Lucid Air at Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo. It was a great first impression. I had a good feel for the car, but I was really looking forward to the day after that Cars and Coffee because I was lucky enough to score an invite to one of two Test Ride EVents that Lucid had scheduled last weekend.
The first one was later on Saturday evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum and the second was at a private residence in Newport Beach. Since my wife and I were occupied on Saturday evening, we made plans to join Lucid on Sunday afternoon.
My original invite to the event was as a “plus one” for another friend who was invited as well. We had made plans to carpool down to the event, so I asked if my wife can join us as well, and he was cool to pick us both up. It was a treat, because he was planning on taking his Model X to the event, and I’ve had limited time riding in any Model X.
So, we met at our house and he drove us down to the event.
Seeing those banners at the side of the road meant that we’ve landed at the right place.
To call the place that Lucid was using for this party a “house” is like calling the Model S a “golf cart.” Apparently the home was being sold for $55 Million dollars. (supposedly at a loss as I overheard something to the effect of $150 Million for the purchase price.) This figure is unconfirmed, whereas the $55 Million price was the ask for the listing.
The walk down the driveway was long enough that Lucid provided golf carts to shuttle us from the entrance down to the house.
It was such an opulent setting for a party, I felt like I was vying for a “rose” at the end of the party 😜.
To the left of the house was where a large screen was set up for the presentation. But before the presentation, we get to explore and mingle.
First stop was to talk motors with David, the Director for Powertrain. He spent some time explaining the 400 HP front and 600 HP rear motors. The initial motor that they were developing is doing something with the magnets that were “normal” and the subsequent motors were going to be doing something else with the magnets that would make them even more powerful. If I had been more technical, I would have remembered what he said. Unfortunately, that was several days ago, and I’m sure that I’ll hear about it again before the cars are released. He was also showing off how small these motors were, even though they were pretty powerful.
This next shot shows the gears that drive the wheels and makes the car go!
After talking motors with David, we headed through the house to the back porch where Lucid had set up some virtual mockups of the interior and a Virtual Reality (VR) of the ride experience.
To the right of the patio was a mock up of the driver cluster and infotainment cluster.
Having seen the actual prototype the day before, it was laid out sans steering wheel.
There were several interior trim samples. The packages were named after some of the ritzier cities in California (Santa Monica, Tahoe, etc.)
There was also a virtual reality experience. I tend to get dizzy with those, so I skipped it.
There was also some cheese and fruit setting in the back, but I was there for car stuff, so I skipped those.
We were given a fair warning that the presentation was to start, so we headed back to the front and where the screen was.
I decided to take a panoramic of the front driveway.
And then another panoramic from the front back to the house.
Then the presentation started. We were taken on the Lucid journey by three members of Lucid’s management team.
First up was Zak Edson, Director of Marketing.
Followed by Derek Jenkins, Vice President of Design.
Then finally by Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer. He had this funny slide explaining Horse Power and describing the shrinking size of HP from the first horse to ICE engines to the Lucid Motor.
This slide shows where the LIDAR (4 of them) and cameras are that will enable the Air to get to autonomy when that is offered.
And rather than use a drop-cloth to do the reveal of the Lucid Air to this crowd (as they had done at the Petersen Museum event the night before). Lucid actually drove the Show Prototype down the driveway to the crowd below
It’s a nice looking design in front. I don’t really like the rear exterior of the car, but it still looked great.
In discussing the Show Prototype with several of the other Lucid Design members, I found out that these 22″ tires are special ones that are for the show car, but probably won’t make the production car.
Apparently, Pirelli had these laying around, but not producing them. Still looks great, but knowing how much tires cost and how often they’re replaced on aggressively driven EVs, I would opt for a more sensible sized wheel and tire combination.
So, after a full day of waiting. I finally got to actually go in and experience the interior of the Show Prototype… Especially the rear passenger seats in the Executive Seating package.
As I previously mentioned, the trim packages are named after “ritzy” California cities… The Show Prototype is named after Santa Cruz. (No San Quentins or Alcatraz Islands here. 😜)
Here is your author fully reclining in the executive seats of the Show Prototype taking a selfie. It’s like being in a business class seat. Not fully lay flat, but pretty darn comfortable.
The Lucid Executive Seat controls are a touch panel in the center, shared by both passengers.
Which means it would be easy to program other functions to it.
Here is my seatmate on the left adjusting his seats…
The view of the front from the back seats.
A dedicated vent for air… I like that. Don’t have to share. Just wonder how strong it is.
A great shot of someone else in the back seat with the leg support extended.
After lounging in the back, it was my turn in the front seat of the Show Prototype without having to sit awkwardly to avoid getting dirt in it because of the damp weather from Saturday.
The infotainment screen in the middle.
Some cool looking diagnostics…
Lots of range left.
The footwell is pretty standard, though looks like some loose wires to the left.
Nice touchscreen to the right to dynamically change the driving style of the car. This menu is a little less accessible on the Model S (under current releases.)
And the functionality, as with many touch screens can be changed.
Back to the infotainment…
Love the fact that the creep can be turned on and off. (I prefer to drive with it off.) It also looks like they’re using air suspension.
Obviously a mock up on the Show Prototype…
We’re in Newport Beach, CA, not the Bay Area.
Lots of configurable options on the displays… Not sure how many are actually implemented.
After checking out the car, I went to stand in line for the test rides.
But while waiting, they opened the front trunk (they were not using the “frunk” nomenclature), so my wife held our place in line and I ran over to take some pictures of the front trunk.
That’s a deep front trunk.
We then jumped back in line for Prototype 2… Apparently there were some issues with Prototype 4 from the previous evening, so we’re down to one prototype for the drive events.
If you remember from the article on Cars and Coffee, Prototype 2 had the bench seating and Prototype 4 had the prototype executive seating.
After a little wait, we got to ride in the car…
I’m in the rear passenger side seat and here I am getting my iPhone ready to take photos.
My better half shot this video…
Some stills from me.
When we got back, we hung out with some friends and soaked up more of the atmosphere…
Had to take the “car in the background” shot… It’s a beautiful, sunny Southern California day, so have to look good while hanging out in the sun.
A few more car shots…
The Lucid Air looked great yesterday, but it looks even better with more light.
While we were chatting with friends. Someone finally managed to get the trunk opened, and I ran over to take some pictures of that.
That grey floor cover can be removed.
So, I guess the drawback is hauling space in the executive seat option. The Model S does a better job of that.
And with that, we bid adieu to our friends.
We took the golf cart back to valet and said farewell to the awesome house that the party was held at.
While we were waiting for the valet to bring our friend’s Model X up… Prototype 2 passed us again…
The sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean as we headed back home.
Overall, I would say that if we decided to go for the executive seat option, Lucid has made a car that I would prefer to have someone else drive me around in than drive myself in. The power at 40% is great, but I’m all about the range.
Additionally, the Lucid folks recognize that they have to get a deal done for DC Fast charging and I’m rooting that Tesla works with them to let them into the Supercharger network. Otherwise, it’s a longer climb for Lucid to get there.
I was on a trip to Miami when the initial tweet went out and I figured to set up a meetup for the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County membership to attend one of the public “unveils” of this interesting new EV. The club membership have many owners who are proponents of EVs in general as is evidenced by our early “reveal” of the Chevy Bolt EV a few months ago.
I was unsure whether or not I would be able to attend the event as my flight from Miami was scheduled to arrive around midnight on Friday evening and the Cars and Coffee in Aliso Viejo was scheduled at 7am on Saturday morning. Things looked even worse when it turned out that our flight was subject to a gate hold for over an hour and I didn’t get home until 1am this morning.
But, we’re talking about a new EV, and as many long-time readers know, I’m sort of an EV nut. So…
This was especially early for me because between my announcement of the club meetup earlier in the week and the EVent this morning at Cars and Coffee Aliso Viejo, I got two invites from friends to join them for the “invitation” Lucid event for actual test rides. So, this first impression is solely for the Aliso Viejo Cars and Coffee and I will probably have a second write-up and pictures from the more up-close and experiential EVent that I decided to join tomorrow
Well, Lucid first showed up with two Alpha Prototypes. Around 7:10 AM, these two wrapped cars drove by while I was speaking with a few folks.
Here are some closer shots of the wrapped prototypes.
These early prototypes were not luxurious by any means, but provide a good idea of what sort of trim and style of seating that the Lucid Air will have.
The car (that has the number 2 on it) has the bench seating in the back. And the other car (the one with the number 4 on it) has a mock-up of an “executive” seating type of set-up (for China, and livery services perhaps.) Additionally, the 2 car has a solid roof, whereas the one with number 4 has a panoramic (like the Model X, Model 3, or the new Model S fixed glass) roof.
Here is the seating for the “4” car.
Here’s the glass roof on the “4” car.
Here I am seated in the back of prototype “4” car.
The view from the back seat.
Lucid brought their “show” car out much later and it made for a dramatic entrance.
Here’s the back of the car…
Peaking into the Show Prototype, we can see that Lucid opted to kit it out with the Executive Seating.
I took some pictures when others were able to grab a seat in the show car. The interior trim looks good.
Here’s another shot of the Executive Seating in the back.
There’s a little touchscreen between the two seats for some controls. I didn’t see that up close, but it’s pretty cool.
On the Show Prototype, Lucid opted to kit it with some cool things.
First, the tires and wheels are huge for a sedan. I think these are 22″ tires.
The front of the car is pretty sleek.
There is a LIDAR and camera in the very front to help the car in its autonomous functions.
And the High Lumen LED lights look interesting on the Show Prototype.
If you look at the front hood of the car, there seems to be two dark vents above the lights, and I was told that this provides a “vent” for the heat generated by the front lights of the car.
We never got to see the Trunk or Frunk or the charging port for the Show Prototype. Actually, specific to the Show Prototype, the charging port is not accessible, (it’s in the Frunk for the Show Prototype.) On 2 and 4, it is actually a front charging door by the driver side. Lucid has not decided what to do for DC Fast Charging yet, and they are still considering technology for the released vehicle.
Here’s the front seat of the Show Prototype.
Looking at the back from the front seat.
I got to sit in the front seat… And that was pretty cool.
The cockpit looks great with this prototype’s finish.
The three screens are filled with very useful information.
Here’s the wood trim on the door controls.
The show prototype had the same glass roof as the “4” prototype.
So, all in… It’s a great looking car. Unfortunately, this venue didn’t have test rides in the car, and we’re off to the second of two Southern California ride events this weekend and another post will follow with my impressions of being chauffeured in one of these cars. So, stay tuned as I will write about my further impressions from the events tomorrow.