The Tesla Model S has a surprise new rival that beats it on cost and range

Lucid Air Pure
(Image credit: Lucid)

American EV manufacturer Lucid has been giving Tesla headaches ever since it first unveiled its production cars in the spring and summer of 2021. The Model S-rivaling Lucid Air has already been reviewed favorably, with established outlets, such as Top Gear, suggesting it is more akin to Mercedes’ opulent S-Class than a mere Model S.

Well, it's time for Musk to crack out the paracetamol, because there is another thorn to puncture Tesla’s side in the shape of the Lucid Air Pure – arguably the 'best value' Lucid on the list.

Pure joins the likes of Air Touring, Air Grand Touring and potent Air Sapphire models in the range, promising a starting price of $76,475 after $7,500 EV credit in the US (€109,000 in Europe, around £93,000 / AU$179,000). That's just a smidge over the most basic $74,900 Model S (€94,990, or around £82,000 / AU$156,000), which recently had its prices slashed, upsetting many owners and fleet managers due to the subsequent tanking of residual values.

That said, Lucid is offering monthly lease deals from as little as $749 per month, where Tesla is asking for $1,099 per month over 36 months in the US for its 'entry-level' Model S.

Lucid Air Pure

(Image credit: Lucid)

But perhaps more importantly, Lucid claims the all-electric range from its 88kWh battery pack can be up to 419-miles on the stringent EPA testing cycle. Tesla’s official figures were released in 2022 and the EPA rating came out at a 405-mile maximum range. 

Both cars feature all-wheel-drive capability, while Tesla claims its Model S can smash the 0-60mph sprint in 3.1 seconds, where the Lucid Air Pure does it in 3.8 seconds.

Lucid is going heavy on the premium touches, with a PurLuxe leather alternative bedecking the interior seats, which also feature 20-way adjustability for maximum comfort. As well as this, Lucid offers 19-inch alloys and a comprehensive infotainment system that consists of a fully digital cockpit and large touchscreen in the center console. 

Customers can also step up to a Touring trim, which beats Tesla’s Model S Plaid in almost every regard bar the 0-60mph time. Tesla claims 1.99-seconds, where Lucid offers a more realistic 3.4-seconds. But the latter is $2,490 cheaper and adds an additional 29-miles to the estimated electric range. 

Of course, Lucid can go to-to-toe with Tesla on the drag racing front, but you’ll have to part with $249,000 (around £199,999 / AU$380,000) for the eye-watering Sapphire model, which apparently accelerates from rest to 60mph in just 1.89 seconds, manages 427-miles of range and offers features like massaging seats and advanced driver assistance systems.

Tesla has it covered

Lucid Air Pure

(Image credit: Lucid)

Arguably the biggest hurdle to Lucid genuinely eating into Tesla sales its is lack of a Supercharger network, a feature that many Tesla owners claim is the lifeblood of the brand, as well as Lucid’s inability to currently sell in certain markets.

At the moment, it is focussing on the US, while current European markets include Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway, where it has dedicated showrooms. Lucid said it has already made inroads to China, while it offers cars in places like Saudi Arabia, too.

The UK is still a sticking point, due to the right-hand drive conversion, but with increased expansion, it could well be a true premium rival to Tesla’s EV dominance.

However, the Model S is getting a bit long in the tooth now, having been first launched in 2012. By the time Lucid starts truly eating into sales, Tesla will likely have an all-new model to flaunt, boasting the latest tech and competition-busting range capabilities. 

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.