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Lucid Motors VP of Design on the Air EV: "We Target the German Luxury Sedans"

The Lucid Air is one of the most beautiful vehicles to have come out of a design team's studio, concept car or otherwise. It's not an opinion, it's a fact (OK, it's an opinion, but can you really disagree with it?).
Lucid Air 17 photos
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Lucid Motors initially started life as Atieva back when they were testing the powertrain of what was going to become the "Air" sedan inside a white Mercedes-Benz Vito van. They released a few videos of Edna, the name of the test car, having fun with other sports cars (and even supercars) in a couple of drag races.

But it wasn't until the company changed names to Lucid Motors and released the first pictures of the Air that it truly managed to capture our attention. A lot of cars attempt to blend futurism with elegance and fail miserably - the Lucid Air should be part of the textbook given to those designers.

As always, the result is a collective effort, but somebody has to sacrifice himself and take all the credit. In this case, it's Derek Jenkins, Lucid Motors' Vice President of Design and part of the team that created this superb sedan.

Jenkins offered NextMobility.co an exclusive interview where he talks about the Air project, giving some very intriguing insights. For instance, he says the goal had always been to lure the type of client who would normally go for a luxury German limousine such as the BMW 7 Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

We're only dealing with a concept car as far as the cockpit is concerned, so there's no point in comparing it to existing models. But if Lucid Motors manages to get the final interior design and build quality right, there really is no reason to think any less of the Air than the established big names in the segment.

At first, comparing the car against the 7 Series and S-Class seemed odd, especially since according to its exterior dimensions, the Air is one segment lower (5 Series, E-Class). As far as interior space is concerned, though, the electric sedan is actually roomier than the long-wheelbase versions of the two German limousines.

The fact the name "Air" came as a consequence of the design and not the other way around, as Jenkins reveals, is a testament to the strong emphasis on interior space and atmosphere. But at the end of the day, it's the outside that makes the Lucid Air a real eye-candy.

Jenkins praises the unlimited possibilities given by the electric powertrain (smaller than a conventional one) and the absence of any brand image constraints that plague the work of designers at big car companies. “It’s a huge advantage," he says. "It’s really much more of a form and function exercise, for me as a designer. At the big companies, you are really styling over a given architecture. Here we are actually working together to create a great piece of design and engineering. That’s a big difference.

The Lucid Air is expected to enter production in 2019, and even though that's two years from now, Jenkins can rest assured that the Air's design will still be as relevant then as it is now.

 
 
 
 
 

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