Lucid Air over 500 miles on a charge!

Godawgs

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https://www.motortrend.com/cars/lucid/air/2021/2021-lucid-air-first-ride-review-range-test/

I’m no EV expert but this caught me as a surprise. Such a huge improvement over the previous benchmark. Interesting that the CEO didn’t call out battery technology, but rather their motors and the entire system(s) working together. For those more in the know, can you provide insight on how Rivian’s approach compares or contrasts to Lucid’s?

Thanks.
 

electruck

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Lucid has been dropping hints about having this kind of range for a while. If this is with a 130 kWh battery, it's really not that surprising. However, if they are doing this with a 100 kWh battery, then they are truly demonstrating a leap in efficiency by pushing past 4 mi/kWh and approaching 5 mi/kWh. So far Lucid has yet to divulge what size battery pack this result was achieved with.

Given what we do - and mostly don't - know about Rivian, they appear to be largely working with suppliers and are likely not achieving the deep levels of integration and efficiency that Lucid boasts of their in-house approach. The Air sedan also has an inherent aero advantage over the Rivian trucks although it appears Rivian has gone to great lengths to optimize aero while stopping short of compromising the utility of the vehicles which would defeat the purpose for their existence. Based on what Rivian has been willing to share so far, we should expect somewhere close to 2.2-2.3 mi/kWh. Of course we know they like to under-promise and over-deliver, we just don't know exactly how conservative their range estimates have been. I would be pleasantly surprised but entirely shocked if they exceeded 2.5 mi/kWh with the R1 platform and really expect the EPA range estimates to come in pretty close to what Rivian has been stating.
 

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Peter Rawlinson said the car that Lucid tested at FEV in Auburn Hills had a battery pack "considerably" less than the 130-kWh pack that was originally planned for the car. The press reported that the highway mileage tests in February were done with cars running a 110-kWh pack. If this is the pack used in the FEV test, that means the Rivian hit an efficiency of 4.7 m/kWh, which is remarkable for a large sedan.

Rawlinson thinks the official EPA range rating might come in slightly above 550 miles. The FEV figure was arrived at by applying the EPA's standard 70% factor to the actual test mileage of 738 miles, thus yielding 517 miles. However, the EPA allows Tesla to use a 75% factor based on Tesla's high-efficiency HVAC system, slick aerodynamics, and other efficiency elements. Rawlinson thinks that when Lucid submits its specs on these features to the EPA, Lucid will also be allowed to use the same 75% factor, thus yielding an EPA range of 553 miles. We'll see . . . .

Lucid has abandoned plans to offer a 130-kWh pack, as efficiency advances over the past three years have made range in excess of 400 miles achievable with a smaller battery pack which is lighter, cheaper, and easier to cool. They haven't said what the capacity will be of the new large pack.

The key advances to which Rawlinson attributes this efficiency are:

- Lucid has developed a technique for reducing the cogging torque in permanent magnet motors by about two-thirds. This allows them to use the more efficient PMSM on both axles, whereas Tesla puts its PMSM only on the front axle, where it is the sole drive motor under light loads, leaving the non-cogging induction motor to idle.

- The >900-volt electrical system reduces internal resistance and cooling requirements in the powertrain, saving weight and allowing smaller air intakes, thus improving aerodynamics. It also allows smaller-diameter motor windings for a given power output. The entire drive unit on each axle (motor, inverter, epicyclic transmission) weighs just 160 pounds.

- Silicon carbide MOSFET inverters.

There's a lot of debate on the internet (mostly led by Tesla fanboys) about whether this test was valid. A possibly more interesting test was conducted recently in which a Car & Driver journalist participated. It was a "convoy test" in which three cars were driven at the same time, on the same roads, in the same conditions, at the same speeds. Much of the test was on freeways where the cars were driven at 70mph whenever traffic allowed. Each car was running its AC at an agreed-upon setting for all, and cruise control was used whenever feasible.

The three cars in the convoy were:

- A Lucid Air beta car, with ballast added to reach production car weight. (The Car & Driver journalist was in the backseat of this car during most of the test, with a driver and passenger in the front. It was the only car carrying more than one person.)

- A new Tesla Model S Long Range Plus (recently EPA rated at 402 miles of range)

- A new Porsche Taycan Turbo S (EPA rate at 192 miles of range).

At the start each car was charged to 100%. Each was driven until it signaled a low battery warning. The car was then taken onto side streets where it could be driven safely until the battery was completely depleted and the car came to a stop. (The Car & Driver observer got into each car for this final leg to observe the situation.)

The Porsche ran for 236 miles.

The Tesla ran for 355 miles.

The Lucid ran for 456 miles.
 
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electruck

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And Rawlinson has explicitly stated before that they were indeed approaching 5 mi/kWh. It just wasn't clear at the time whether this was in reference to initial launch of the Air or if it might be a year or 2 away. I think we may now have that answer.
 

jjwolf120

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Given what we do - and mostly don't - know about Rivian, they appear to be largely working with suppliers and are likely not achieving the deep levels of integration and efficiency that Lucid boasts of their in-house approach.
I don't think that Rivian is outsourcing as much as you think. I believe they are buying electric motors from a supplier, but they had input on the design and specifications of that motor. They designed their own inverter. It remains to be seen how efficient their vehicles will be. I'm betting that they will at least slightly exceed the initial specifications.

Below is a link to an interview with Richard Farquhar, the vp of propulsion.

https://chargedevs.com/features/qa-with-rivians-vp-of-propulsion-full-interview/
 

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It's hard to be sure, but I suspect the Lucid cars being range tested are the single-motor cars.

Although the alpha cars had a 400-hp front motor and 600-hp rear motor, Lucid is now planning to produce only a 600-hp motor. The Air platform can take 1, 2, or 3 of them. The dual-motor car, which will probably be the first to enter production, will have 1,000 hp output due to limitations of the battery discharge rate.

The reason I suspect the range tests use the single-motor car comes from a Motor Trend article in which one of their people rode in a test car that reached 490 miles of range that day. During stopovers during that test, the Motor Trend guy got into a different Lucid test car that he said accelerated like a rocket ship. He then got into a third car, designated for track testing, that he said was like the prior car but on afterburner.

I'm guessing that he was switching from the single-motor range test car to a dual-motor car to a three-motor car. Lucid first started talking about a third motor after Tesla began testing its 3-motor Plaid platform. I wouldn't be surprised if Rawlinson is positioning Lucid to be ready to take on the Plaid once it hits the market.

If I'm right about this, it'll be interesting to see what the range of the dual-motor car is. Perhaps it won't necessarily be less than the single-motor car. When Tesla added a second motor in 2015, the range of the Model S increased slightly due to the better ability to keep each motor in its optimal operating range.
 
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Hmp10

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It remains to be seen how efficient their vehicles will be. I'm betting that they will at least slightly exceed the initial specifications.
If the R1S hits 400 miles with a 180-kWh battery pack, that is an efficiency of 2.2 m/kWh. That's pretty low compared to other EV's but probably not bad for a vehicle that is going to weigh almost 6,000 pounds and have a large, upright face to the wind.

Rawlinson has noted that there is a real penalty to getting range through large battery packs. He says it takes two additional batteries to power the weight of each additional 100 batteries in the pack. And the weight of large packs obviously adds further weight to the suspension, brakes, and other components needed to manage the pack's weight.

That's why he's been so focused in attaining range through the efficiency of other components insofar as possible. It's also why he decided to scrap the 130-kWh pack once he got the range he wanted instead of keeping the large pack just for boasting rights about even more range.

However, the Lucid is meant to be a sleek luxury sedan. The Rivian is aiming at an utterly different and heavier-duty use and has no choice but to live higher up the weight spiral than Lucid.
 

jjwolf120

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If the R1S hits 400 miles with a 180-kWh battery pack
They actual quote the R1S as going 410+ ,since it is slightly more aerodynamic than the R1T, or 2.2777... m/kWh.
 

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I don't think that Rivian is outsourcing as much as you think. I believe they are buying electric motors from a supplier, but they had input on the design and specifications of that motor. They designed their own inverter. It remains to be seen how efficient their vehicles will be. I'm betting that they will at least slightly exceed the initial specifications.

Below is a link to an interview with Richard Farquhar, the vp of propulsion.

https://chargedevs.com/features/qa-with-rivians-vp-of-propulsion-full-interview/
I made the statement I did with full awareness of the details of that and other interviews. I am not suggesting that Rivian doesn't have any unique optimizations, just that they aren't operating under the same philosophy as Lucid. I too expect they have under-promised and will over-deliver... I just placed a upper bound on how much I think that might be. I can only hope to be astonished by what they actually deliver.
 

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I actually expect that the 180 is the actual pack size and the usable kWh will be lower by 8-10%
@8% and 410 miles of range, it becomes 2.5 mi/kWh
I think it will actually be a bit higher, but pushing a box thru the air is pushing a box thru the air - you can cheat physics a bit with aero, but high ground clearance and the basic shape mean that efficiency will suffer (the benefits that attract so many to the Rivian do have a cost)
 

Coast2Coast

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The Richard Farquhar interview, V. P. of Engineering, with a link in #5 above, is really detailed and a delight to read and learn about Rivian's balance between outsourcing and vertical integration or doing it in-house. For the most important components, sub-systems and systems, Rivian seems to be doing it in-house. That's high-risk but if Rivian pulls it off, Rivian gains huge competitive advantages protected by a deep and wide moat.
 

electruck

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Here is a really old article from May 2018 that I had forgotten about. Interestingly, while much of the info is dated (including the models being reference as A1T/A1C instead of R1T/R1S and the smallest battery being 80 kWh instead of 100) it does mention the following about range which suggests achieving closer to 2.5 mi/kWh. Seems they have backed off from this by 10% in all public communications since their reveal later in 2018.

The more you spend, the more power and range you'll get. The base battery pack is rated at 80kWh, or around 200 miles of range, and the base motor will go from zero to 60 in less than five seconds. The most expensive models will reach around 450 miles on a charge and feature the 800HP electric motor Scaringe said would beat Italian supercars..
Rivian also reported going as far as 314 mi on the 135 kWh pack in South America while still having some juice left in the battery. We don't know details of that leg of the journey or just how much range was left but that doesn't seem out of line for 2.5 mi/kWh.

It will certainly be interesting to see the actual EPA ratings when they are published.
 

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Rivian seems to be doing it in-house.
I don't think it's any coincidence that Tesla and the two newest startups that are generally thought to have the greatest chances of success -- Rivian and Lucid -- are all pursuing the same strategy: do all key component engineering in house to maximize total system efficiency.

Sandy Munro and Peter Rawlinson both argue that that is the secret sauce in Tesla's success and why so many of the legacy manufacturers are putting under-performing EV's on the market in terms of range and efficiency.

Rawlinson, in particular, argues that legacy manufacturers think that EV technology has already become commoditized, and all you have to do is assemble motors, inverters, and transmissions from suppliers and bolt them together to create an EV. Instead, he argues that the industry will eventually reach commoditization but that it is at least ten years away.

Both Rawlinson and Munro agree that Tesla is at least eight years ahead of the legacy manufacturers on EV technology, and the gap is widening rather than narrowing.

This is the main reason I think legacy manufacturers are not going to be able to dislodge the likes of Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid from the future EV market, even as legacy manufacturers mature their EV programs. In fact, I suspect we'll eventually see some legacy manufacturers succumb to the transition to EVs before we'll see these startups succumb.
 
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Babbuino

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Here is a really old article from May 2018 that I had forgotten about. Interestingly, while much of the info is dated (including the models being reference as A1T/A1C instead of R1T/R1S and the smallest battery being 80 kWh instead of 100) it does mention the following about range which suggests achieving closer to 2.5 mi/kWh. Seems they have backed off from this by 10% in all public communications since their reveal later in 2018.



Rivian also reported going as far as 314 mi on the 135 kWh pack in South America while still having some juice left in the battery. We don't know details of that leg of the journey or just how much range was left but that doesn't seem out of line for 2.5 mi/kWh.

It will certainly be interesting to see the actual EPA ratings when they are published.
That comment from the South American trip is the reason why I'm still hoping for 350miles :D
I'm guessing some of the 315miles include off roading.
 
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Godawgs

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Here is a really old article from May 2018 that I had forgotten about. Interestingly, while much of the info is dated (including the models being reference as A1T/A1C instead of R1T/R1S and the smallest battery being 80 kWh instead of 100) it does mention the following about range which suggests achieving closer to 2.5 mi/kWh. Seems they have backed off from this by 10% in all public communications since their reveal later in 2018.



Rivian also reported going as far as 314 mi on the 135 kWh pack in South America while still having some juice left in the battery. We don't know details of that leg of the journey or just how much range was left but that doesn't seem out of line for 2.5 mi/kWh.

It will certainly be interesting to see the actual EPA ratings when they are published.
Regarding mileage - I got to speak with RJ at the Atlanta event last fall and when I told him I planned on getting the 135kwh pack for R1T (he asked which tires and I told him road tire) he said they were expecting 325-327 miles per full charge for that combination. Not sure if that's still the case, but it sounds like your figures from SA are pretty close.
 

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