Tesla Model S-rivaling Lucid Air to start at just $59,500

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There’s nothing like a bit of competition to help you get more for your dollar. Case in point is the battle that could be about to erupt between electric car firms Tesla and Lucid.

Lucid is the newcomer here but the company has fired a major salvo with the announcement on Wednesday that its first product, the Air electric sedan, will be priced from a very reasonable $ 59,500, or just $ 52,500 when you factor in the $ 7,500 federal tax credit. No destination charge figure was given.

The price is for the base model whose claimed range is 240 miles and output is a stout 400 horsepower. Drive is to the rear wheels only.

In comparison, the base Tesla Model S, the Model S 60, is priced from $ 71,300 (excluding destination) and comes with 210 miles of range and 302 hp. It also comes with rear-wheel drive only.

Even in base trim the Lucid Air will be loaded with standard features. The list includes LED headlights, 12-way power adjustable front seats, four touchscreen displays, 10-speaker audio, 10 airbags, an aluminum roof and 19-inch wheels. The car will also be fitted with all the necessary hardware to allow full self-driving mode, though the software to run it all isn’t ready yet.

Lucid will offer a number of options to quickly inflate the price tag. These are still being decided but Lucid says to expect 100- and 130-kilowatt-hour battery options delivering 315- and 400-mile ranges, respectively. Buyers will also be able to opt for a version delivering 1,000 horsepower. This version will feature electric motors at both axles to create all-wheel drive.

Other options are expected to include adjustable suspension, a glass roof, reclining rear seats, more adjustment for the front seats, a 29-speaker audio system, and 21-inch wheels. A fully-loaded Air is expected to be priced higher than $ 100,000.

The first 255 examples of the Air will be special Launch Edition models. These will be priced higher than $ 100,000 and will be getting the 315-mile range and 1,000-hp output.

The fact Lucid is being so aggressive with its pricing, especially this early on, is a sign of strong confidence at the company. However, it was only last December that Lucid decided on Arizona for its plant, with the company estimating that the first examples of the Air will only be ready for delivery sometime in 2018. In other words, Tesla has plenty of time to form its response.

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