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Published: 7/Oct/2020 13:25by Kieran Bicknell
The Electric Vehicle (EV) race is well and truly afoot, with newcomers Lucid Automotive looking to take a share of the market with a secret weapon up their sleeve; Ex-Tesla chief engineer Peter Rawlinson.
With Lucid Automotive revealing their first car – the Lucid Air – earlier in 2020, many have been quick to point out that it triumphs over Tesla’s offerings in many ways. Part of this is down to their head of engineering, Peter Rawlinson, who used to head up the Model S program at Tesla.
Peter left Tesla back in 2012, but it’s apparent that Elon still holds him in contempt for setting up Lucid as a rival. On September 8 this year when Lucid announced their pricing for the Air, Musk was quick to slate his ex-chief engineer via Twitter.
Rawlinson didn’t design Model S. Prototype was done before he joined & he left us in the lurch just as things got tough, which was not cool. He did make some contributions to body/chassis engineering, but not to powertrain, battery, electronics or software.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 9, 2020
Despite Elon’s claims, it’s clear to see that Rawlinson must’ve learned a thing or two. It is in fact the powertrain, battery, and electronics that set the Lucid Air apart from its Tesla rivals.
With its 517-mile range, the Air has the largest range of any EV currently on the market. To achieve this, Lucid has employed cutting-edge technology in its compact motor units.
Lucid have chosen to use ‘Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors’ as opposed to the ‘Induction’ motors that Tesla use. By making this shift, they have been able to increase the range of the vehicle dramatically, by reducing heat build-up and resistance in the motors.
These motors are also incredibly small, allowing Lucid to combine elements such as the transmission and the differential into one compact package. With each Air having three motors, size really does matter.
The Batteries also play a big part in Lucid’s advantage, choosing to use a number of high-voltage batteries to power the Air. Rawlinson prefers this over using numerous low-voltage batteries, which he refers to as “dumb weight” since they all add significant weight to the car.
This not only means they need less current to power the motors (increasing range) but also means the batteries themselves are smaller. This means that the Air has the maximum amount of cabin space possible, as the batteries do not ‘eat’ into the interior.
With its world-leading range, incredible performance, and luxurious interior, the Lucid Air is taking the fight to Tesla.