April 10, 2024

If the gas price at $6 a gallon has you down, you should consider joining the crowd of motorists transitioning toward electric cars. A new showroom that opens on Saturday in the Seattle area of University Village will show what you can buy for just $154,000.

If you don’t squint at the price, then the $6 price of gasoline isn’t your issue. Silicon Valley-based Lucid is making that money-not-an-object bet with a new space to tout its Air Grand Touring luxury sedan.

Lucid has been creating their showroom for the past year inside what was previously a Microsoft Store at the high-end mall. The opening was on Thursday. GeekWire was able to see a glimpse of the area, a virtual reality vehicle experience, and a live test of the drive.

The address is the 28th of the year for the business, which also offers a delivery and service center on Airport Way South in Seattle.

“In Seattle there’s a very high adoption rate of EVs, but also there’s a really strong focus here on technology,” stated Dave Buchko, the company’s PR manager, who explained the appeal to the market. “We see ourselves as a technology company as much as car company.”

The Lucid showroom is in a former Microsoft Store location. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

About 20 feet just a few feet from just 20 feet from an Apple Store, the Lucid space is heavily influenced by the minimalist designs of Apple’s retail stores. There are two cars inside the showroom, as well as a display that showcases the electric technology (motor charger, motor, battery), a collection of fabric and interior finishes as well as miniature models of exterior color choices, a two-seat virtual experience viewing the car in various environments; and lounge spaces.

“Since we’ll never have an abundance of vehicles for people to explore, a large one of the benefits in this area is the possibility to explore different materials and finishes, as well as interior as well as exterior colors. This gives individuals to experience it, feel it and feel it, feel it.” Buchko said.

Since Lucid is not authorized to sell vehicles in Washington State, the purpose of Lucid’s studio is to inform prospective buyers about the brand, its models available, and the alternatives. Direct-to-consumer purchases — and any discussion of price is handled through Lucid’s Newark, Calif., headquarters, while delivery takes place in the south-facing facility to downtown Seattle.

A display showing off Lucid’s electric tech, from left: the motor, charger, and battery. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Lucid, created in 2007 as a battery maker Atieva cl, aims to be “the quickest, longest range, fastest charging electric car in the world.” The Air GT boasts a range of 520 miles on a single charge, with an estimated charge time of 20 minutes to cover 300 miles.

The company, headed by the CEO Peter Rawlinson, a former top engineer at Tesla, went public in 2000 and raised $4.5 billion through an SPAC deal.

It’s competing against a deeply entrenched Tesla full of vehicles within the Seattle region. The company also has its showroom right down the street from University Village.

“We’re playing a long game here,” Buchko declared. “Obviously, Tesla took a decade to get the level they are at today. We’re just beginning our journey. We’re accelerating slowly We’ll eventually expand the model selection.”

Prices and models that were just raised in May to cover rising material and supply chain costs include 154,000 Air Grand Touring, the $107,400 Air Touring, the $87,400 Air Pure, and a new Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance model, which was announced last week, priced at $179,000.

Lucid’s Chad Flores handles a control panel for the showroom’s virtual reality experience. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

(GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Its VR experience is part of a collaboration with ZeroLight that was created to “reflect the needs of the evolving luxury buyer,” according to the 2020 press release. While in the showroom with the Vive headset, I suddenly stood at the San Francisco waterfront with breathtaking views of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. I observed as the Lucid car sped up to the side of me.

Chad Flores, a studio advisor visiting The company’s San Jose location, guided me through the car and altered the car’s appearance using the tablet he operated, which showed the car in various colors. The driver opened the door and instructed me to enter, and I sat in the “cockpit” with a steering wheel. It was like being in a real car as Flores altered the lighting themes and trim packages.

When my journey ended on the coast of Monterey, Flores said the goal was to transform the buying experience of cars to the 21st century.

I experienced the natural world and sat in a Lucid vehicle in the showroom. Flores took a seat in the driver seat and showed me the car controls and regional sales director Stacy Paoa took a seat in the back.

The natural landscapes of California influence the Lucid design and finishes. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

“Would you like a massage?” Paoa asked me.

Flores activated an option for massage on the dashboard and then cycled through the choices, such as rolling, unwinding, stretching, wave, and deep.

“It gives you a 20-minute timer so you don’t get too comfortable while you’re driving,” Flores stated as her seat swung around beneath my rear and back.

The vehicles will also have the option of having Amazon’s Alexa perform the cycle through various controls via voice.

To determine whether I’d sleep in a massage for 20 minutes, I went for an uninitiated test ride on the Air GT on the streets around the mall.

In an (finally) warm and sunny afternoon in Seattle, the car’s enormous glass roof and windshield offered a fantastic way to soak pleasure in the blue sky. The controls of the vehicle were simple to operate and navigate through. The impressive collection of cameras and LiDAR technology in the car provided the most views I could ever imagine using.

The view from the back seat of a Lucid Air during a test ride in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Acceleration was impressive even in short bursts, on city streets, where it was only allowed to travel at set at 30 mph. The car accelerates from down to 60 in 2.5 minutes, but it will take further distance from the University District to test the maximum speed of 164 miles per hour. The car was solid and quiet and handled as if it were a luxury car.

Lucid’s design concepts for the interior are in the spirit of a specific moment in time. A particular California area influences Lu.cid’s interiors; for example, the Mojave gray, black, and grey products are modeled on the desert at night. Sustainable interior materials are:

  • Veganized leather.
  • Alpaca fabric is woven with threads made of recycled plastic bottles.
  • Wood finishes derived from groves and trees devoted to automotive parts.

The cars are manufactured at a plant located in Casa Grande, Ariz. The company is planning 12,000 to 14,000 cars this year. The auto plant could eventually be able to produce 365,000 vehicles per year. Buchko said.

“It shows that we have ambitions to be a significant player in the EV space, but we recognize it’s gonna take some time,” said the CEO. Supply chain issues were mentioned in the latest Business Insider article.

 

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