300 miles in 20 minutes

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by Kivi

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08.19.2020


Lucid already suggested a week ago that its upcoming Air electric luxury sedan might offer the longest EPA-cycle range of any EV—an anticipated 517 miles.

Now it’s already topping that with what many electric-vehicle enthusiasts will see as an even more impressive claim: that it’s the fastest-charging EV. 

Lucid announced Wednesday that the Air can recover up to 20 miles of range per minute of charging. While that’s a jaw-dropping potential burst rate—likely at a very specific state of charge and with ideal conditions—Lucid’s claim in real-world charging situations is unparalleled: 300 miles of estimated EPA range back in just 20 minutes.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

That means the Air will likely require shorter stops on a road trip versus Tesla models with Supercharging V3, the Porsche Taycan, and everything else on the market. 

Getting that charge rate will require a 350-kw CCS DC fast-charger, of the sort that remains relatively rare in the U.S. According to Chargeway, a software platform and app aiming to make it easier to charge, there are currently 593 active 350-kw fast-charging connectors in the U.S. Those are mostly part of the Electrify America network, but EVgo has one up and Greenlots will soon add 30. 

In Chargeway’s much-simplified color-and-number language you need only look for a Green 7 to find those connectors.

350-kw DC fast-charging stations in the U.S. - Chargeway - August 2020

350-kw DC fast-charging stations in the U.S. – Chargeway – August 2020

In the Air, Lucid credits a number of factors for the charge rate. Its 900+ volt electrical architecture reduces thermal losses, as well as its sophisticated thermal management system and custom lithium-ion cells—coming from LG Chem for most models.

The onboard charger used in the Air is called Wunderbox as it combines several components into “one package-efficient and structurally integrated housing”—again, likely designed for power efficiency, too.

The Air’s AC onboard charger can handle up to 19.2 kwh—suggesting 80A drawn, and a dedicated 100A home or commercial circuit to support. The payoff of such an arrangement is the recovery of up to 80 miles per hour on Level 2—approaching the rate at which some earlier EVs can recover miles via fast-charging.

It also notes that the Air will automatically boost its voltage when needed to charge at the quickest possible rate. By the sound of it that’s a big step up from the Porsche Taycan, which offers 50-kw fast-charging capability at 400V, with 150-kw capability optional.

Lucid says that the charging system has full bi-directionality for advanced V2X capabilities—including the future enablement of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology. 

Lucid Connected Home Charging Station

Lucid Connected Home Charging Station

The Lucid Connected Home Charging Station will be, the company says, “one of the first AC charging stations with bi-directional charging ever offered.” With installation through the partner company Qmerit, bi-directional charging will allow the Air to be used as temporary power for the home or, as Lucid suggests, off-grid vacation properties. 

Lucid is working on its own energy storage systems that will supplement those capabilities—and, in the future, find a second-life use for its batteries.

U.S. buyers of the Air will be able to take advantage of this very fast charging for three years on the Electrify America network free of charge.

The official virtual reveal event for the Lucid Air is just three weeks out—September 9—so expect many more details then. First deliveries of the Air, which will be built in Arizona, are due in spring 2021.



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