Lucid Gravity project progressing “really well,” says chief designer [Update]

The Lucid Gravity project is running as per schedule, suggests Derek Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Design, Lucid Motors. Answering a question about future programs in an Instagram chat with Rosemary Square – West Palm, Jenkins said, “that development is moving along really well.” He talked about the design of the upcoming model, which we have covered in the first section of the story.

I’m excited, very excited about the project. I think that even though the sedan segment is still a very popular segment, the SUV/CUV segments, especially in luxury, are continuing to grow at a much higher pace. So, we’re super-excited to bring that vehicle on the road.

Derek Jenkins, SVP of Design, Lucid Motors

In July 2021, Lucid announced the grand opening of its New York City Studio, its eighth in the last year. In the same breadth, Lucid also announced that 11,000 reservations have already been made for the Lucid Air sedan, including the fully reserved Dream Edition, the Grand Touring edition, and the tour and pro variants.

Here’s the down-low on the Lucid Gravity, which will rival the Tesla Model X:

1. On the Lucid Gravity’s design

The Gravity is arguably the finest nexus between an upright, boxy SUV that appeals to purists and an elegant crossover. It’s essentially a different top hat on a sedan (Lucid Air), one that is fully reimagined, which can’t be said of the Tesla Model X. Here’s Jenkins providing details of the first Lucid SUV on April 19, 2021, in a chat with Rosemary Square – West Palm’s Instagram channel:

I can promise you a few things, that it will have the Lucid design DNA, so it should be instantly recognizable as a Lucid product and sit comfortably next to the Lucid Air. And we’ll put a big priority on the same values that Air has, and that’s in the areas of space, interior space, overall vehicle efficiency and range, and of course, incredible performance.

Derek Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Design, Lucid Motors, on the Project Gravity

Lucid Motors, founded as Atieva in 2016, didn’t provide us a complete look at the Lucid Gravity or Project Gravity during the announcement in September 2020. Thanks to patent images, which have surfaced from EUIPO, we can see the Gravity from all angles.

The Lucid Gravity teased in September 2020 was a near-production concept. Since Lucid Motors hasn’t given its SUV a proper reveal yet, it’s hard to say if the patents are of the road-ready version. However, as was the Air’s case, the Lucid Gravity spec heading to dealer showrooms in about two years should look nearly identical to the initial model.

The patent images show the Gravity featuring sleek headlamps similar to those of the Lucid Air, a visibly short hood (with air vents), and a huge windscreen. On the sides, the electric luxury SUV has a horizontal beltline, sleek yet wide windows, and quarter glass panels, a really flat roof, and squarish wheel arches. The fast A-pillar angle pushes the windscreen quite forward for a very sporty look. The slim and sharp tail lamps are connected via a light strip on the top at the rear. Up top, almost the entire portion is covered by the sunroof.

While concepts tend to be more appealing than their road-ready versions, it will be the opposite case for the Lucid Project Gravity. That’s what Peter Rawlinson, CEO & CTO, Lucid Motors, indicated while speaking at the BofA Securities 2021 Automotive Summit held in March.

These (teasers in this story) are our sneak-peak preview shots. We’ve actually changed the design a bit since then and it’s much cooler, even cooler again. And we’re really going to reimagine what an SUV can be, using this Space Concept, bigger on the inside, more compact on the outside, to make a three-row super, super sporting, all-electric SUV with great range and great characteristics.

Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Motors (at BofA Securities 2021 Automotive Summit)
2021 Lucid Air interior dashboard
The Lucid Gravity should share the interior design DNA with the Lucid Air (pictured). Image Source: Lucid Motors

The Lucid Gravity may have a distinguishing top hat for its SUV look, but a significant amount of the interior layout and design should be common with the Lucid Air. Expect the same “Lucid Space Concept” that leverages the company’s miniaturized EV drivetrain and compact battery pack to give plenty of space.

We expect a similarly designed sleek dashboard that discretely stows a retractable central portrait touchscreen called ‘Pilot Panel,’ with a 34-inch 5K curved instrument cluster, the ‘Lucid Glass Cockpit,’ floating above it. The occupants in the second row may get individual screens in front of them for entertainment on the go. The bank of high-resolution displays may feature the Lucid UX and have interconnection through the ‘Lucid Ethernet ring,’ an ethernet connection that allows the car’s internal systems to communicate with each other at gigabit speeds.

2. On the platform of the Lucid Gravity

Lucid Project Gravity side
The Lucid Gravity could be the most spacious electric SUV in the world, competing with the VW ID.6 and the Ioniq 7 in the aspect of interior dimensions. Image Source: Lucid Motors

As it is currently, the Gravity, or Project Gravity, will be based on Lucid Air’s platform, announced in September 2020. This would put the Gravity on the Lucid Electric Advanced Platform (LEAP). Combined with the Lucid Space Concept, which minimizes the in-house developed EV drivetrain to optimize cabin space, the second Lucid car is expected with class-leading interior space and comfort.

The Lucid Gravity would incorporate the posh design language set by the Lucid Air, but with typical SUV traits like upright front and rear fascias, straight body lines, squarish fenders, large greenhouse, etc. Jenkins has told hotcars.com that the Lucid Air’s design DNA is suitable for a utility product like the Lucid Gravity. He also said that the company is working on “a range of products” with the same design philosophy.

3. It gets race-proven, compact battery pack & largest ‘frunk’

Lucid Project Gravity front quarter
Thanks to its clever packaging, the Lucid Gravity is expected with the largest frunk in an electric vehicle. Image: Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors says it has developed a 113 kWh battery pack through electric racing with 20 million miles of real-world testing promising ‘world class’ energy density. The company is using this battery pack in the Lucid Air right now. The large-capacity battery pack takes up limited space to liberate more interior space, the manufacturer said.

The 113 kWh battery pack’s size has also led to the Air featuring the largest frunk (trunk space at the front due to the absence of an engine) of any electric car to date. With the larger dimensions of the Lucid Gravity SUV, we expect the frunk to be much larger than that of the Air (280+ liters or 9.9 cu.ft).

In the Lucid Air, the 113 kWh battery pack can deliver a range of up to 520 miles (EPA est.). The Lucid Gravity could deliver an EPA est. range of over 450 miles with the same battery pack. That number is definitely going to be a number over 400 miles, Jenkins has indicated.

In an interview with Automotive News in April 2021, Jenkins was asked about customer expectations from a luxury electric SUV. SUVs are used for many daily tasks and even adventure trips and getaways, so a long range is what customers want out of their SUVs, even here in the luxury segment.

That range topic, I always put that at the very, very top of the list. To me that means 400- miles plus. You know, it has to have that at a minimum because people are going to use this thing. It’s going to be a family workhorse in a lot of cases. 

Derek Jenkins, SVP of Design, Lucid Motors

The Lucid Gravity three-row SUV would be considered as a family hauler and inter-city traveler by American car buyers. So, the travel range really matters, and that’s on top of the mind of the team designing and developing it.

4. World’s fastest charging Electric SUV?

Lucid Project Gravity design
The Lucid Gravity will be gunning for customers convinced about the GMC Hummer EV and Mercedes EQS SUV as their next car. Image: Lucid Motors

The Lucid Gravity will be among the fastest-charging EVs, likely offering a peak charging rate of over 300 kW. The GMC Hummer EV SUV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo already offer 350 kW ultra-fast charging or rapid charging. That’s the number Lucid Motors could target.

The Lucid Air can add up to 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes. The same charging speed would trickle down to the Lucid Gravity to make it one of the world’s fastest charging electric SUVs.

5. The world’s most powerful electric SUV?

Lucid Project Gravity rear design
With the same electric motors of the Air sedan, the Lucid Gravity could hit the quarter-mile in a sub-12 second time. Image: Lucid Motors

With the Lucid Air getting bragging rights as the world’s most powerful electric sedan, it is only reasonable to expect the Lucid Gravity to be the world’s most powerful electric SUV. Expect nearly 1080 hp from two motors, one powering the front wheels and the other rear wheels.

The Air can achieve consistent quarter-mile times of 9.9 seconds, and we expect the Gravity SUV to keep it tidy under the 12-second mark, despite its SUV body shape and relatively higher drag.

6. Special Pirelli tires

Like the Air, the Lucid Gravity should feature the new Pirelli P Zero HL tires. Pirelli says that the new series of its tires, debuting on the first Lucid model, are dedicated to EVs and hybrids. The company has developed tires to support the higher weight of vehicles with large batteries. They feature an HL marking on the sidewall to indicate their capability to handle high loads.

The Lucid Air’s Pirelli P Zero HL can support 20% more weight than a standard tire and 6-9% more weight compared to an extra load XL tire of the same size. The bespoke P Zero tires benefit from Pirelli Elect and PNCS technologies. Pirelli has jointly developed them with Lucid Motors, and it marks them ‘LM1’ also on the sidewalls.

Pirelli Elect offers low rolling resistance for increased range and reduced rolling noise for more comfort. Moreover, it offers a compound grip to go with the torquey nature of electric powertrains and a structure that can handle the battery pack’s weight. PNCS consists of a sound-absorbing material within the tire, and it helps deaden air vibrations.

7. Level 3 autonomous capability

Lucid Air interior
The Lucid Gravity should see the ADAS and DMS, including LIDAR, included in the Air (pictured). Image: Lucid Motors

The Lucid Gravity is sure to inherit the Air’s advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), dubbed Lucid DreamDrive, which the carmaker says features a Driver Monitoring System (DMS) with 32 sensors, covering vision, radar, and ultrasonics, plus the world’s first standard high-resolution LIDAR in an EV. With geo-fenced HD mapping, the Lucid electric car will provide Level 2 and Level 3 driver assistance technologies.

8. Micro Lens lighting system

Lucid has developed a new Micro Lens lighting system, which is the brightest lighting system ever made. The user can also digitally steer the light in different directions to light up dark spots on the road. The system will be available on the Air sedan too.

9. On Lucid Gravity price

Lucid Air rear seat
With its clever packaging, the Lucid Air electric sedan (pictured) hopes to offer class-leading comfort, which could take a step further on the Lucid Gravity thanks to its SUV body shape. Image Source: Lucid Motors

Prices for the Lucid Air start at USD 80,000 (USD 72,500 after federal EV tax credits) and extend up to USD 169,000 (USD 161,500 after EV tax credit). The Lucid Gravity may command a premium of USD 8,000-10,000 over its sedan sibling, putting the entry variants in the Tesla Model X’s ballpark.

10. On the Lucid Gravity release date

The Lucid Gravity will enter production and go on sale during the second half of 2023. Claimed to “redefine” sport and luxury for SUVs, the seven-seater will arrive as an MY2023 model. It will roll out of the same American factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, as the Lucid Air that goes on sale in the second half of this year.

The company is choosing to accelerate plant capacity expansions and to build a dedicated Lucid Gravity general assembly line, which is expected to lead to higher Lucid Air sales volumes in 2023 while remaining within the second half 2023 Lucid Gravity launch window.

Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group

On June 22, 2021, Lucid Group announced the expansion of the Casa Grande facility in Arizona by 2.7 million sq ft. The current facility is a 999,000 sq ft space capable of expanding up to 5.1 million sq ft.

Lucid Motors future models
Several new models, including a compact SUV to challenge the Tesla Model Y, will follow the Lucid Gravity. Image from Lucid Motors presentation.

According to a report from Al Arabiya, Lucid Motors plans to open a vehicle production plant in Saudi Arabia in 2024. If true, the company could manufacture both Lucid Air and Lucid Gravity there in addition to the USA.

Lucid Motors has said it would accelerate approximately $350 million of the planned Capex investment to expand its manufacturing facility, and some part of the funds would go towards the development of the Gravity.

This is possible by expediting two expansion phases into one. The company expects the new factory to offer more manufacturing space by 2023, allowing for at least 53,000 Lucid Air sedans to be produced going ahead. The expansion will also allow for better production flexibility between the Air and the Gravity as a dedicated assembly line is also being prepared for the SUV.

Lucid Motors could bring more part production in-house to lower costs and improve quality. Currently, the company has outsourced components such as body panel stampings and battery enclosures.

In addition to the GMC Hummer EV SUV and the Tesla Model X, the Mercedes EQS SUV due next year, the Range Rover Electric and the Cadillac Escalade Electric will compete with the Lucid Gravity.

What is the Lucid Gravity release date?

H2 2023 is the Lucid Gravity release date.

What will be the Lucid Gravity price?

The base Lucid Gravity could cost anywhere between USD 90,000 and 100,000.

Which EVs will be Lucid Gravity rivals?

The Lucid Gravity will compete with the likes of GMC Hummer EV and Tesla Model X.

Image Source: EUIPO