Lucid Motors unveils a $69,900 version of its long-range, luxury electric sedan

Lucid Motors is releasing a “more attainable” version of its recently revealed luxury electric sedan, the Lucid Air.

At an unveiling event in September, Lucid said the base model would start at “around $80,000” — without revealing the actual price. Now the company says it has settled on a base model price of $77,400 — or $69,900 after applying the US federal tax credit of $7,500.

This version of the Lucid Air will have less horsepower than higher trim levels: 480 hp versus over 1,000 hp for the top-spec Dream Edition version. It will also have less range: 406 miles (EPA projected) as compared to 517 miles for the Dream Edition. And it is available for reservation with a refundable fee of $300. (In September, Lucid said reservations for the base model were initially $1,000.)

But it also won’t be available until 2022 at the earliest. The two most expensive versions of the Air — the $139,000 Air Grand Touring and $169,000 Air Dream Edition — are expected to go on sale in the second quarter of 2021. Like many EV makers, Lucid is hoping to replicate Tesla’s strategy of selling a lot of really expensive cars in the hopes of generating enough cash flow to eventually produce something more affordable.

The Lucid Air will obviously compete with the Tesla Model S for potential buyers. But the company insists Tesla is not the company’s primary target. Lucid’s top executives have said the real prize is to poach customers from Mercedes-Benz and its flagship S-Class.

Mercedes just released an updated version of its flagship S-Class, with updated technology, including a more advanced version of its voice assistant and partially automated driving systems. But the S-Class still runs on good, old-fashioned dinosaur sludge, and Mercedes notes that S-Class customers aren’t exactly clamoring for an electric drivetrain. So it remains to be seen whether Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson’s bid for Mercedes’ crown will succeed.

Lucid is already working on its next vehicle: an SUV. (The Verge was first to report this possibility last year.) Sales of larger cars and trucks are through the roof, and major automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz have followed Tesla’s lead in developing all-electric SUVs.