Lucid delivered just 6,001 electric sedans in 2023

Enlarge / Lucid has dropped the Air’s drag coefficient to just 0.197, making it the most aerodynamic car on sale.

Jonathan Gitlin

When we saw our first Lucid Air prototype in 2017, we came away extremely impressed. This alpha build appeared far more realized than some prototypes, complete with functioning infotainment software as opposed to the pre-rendered demos that are often more common in such cases. But the startup automaker has had anything but an easy time since then. Yesterday, it announced its Q4 2023 deliveries ahead of an investor call in late February, and the numbers are bad.

Lucid originally planned to launch the Air sedan in 2019. Designed by Tesla’s former VP and Chief Vehicle Engineer Peter Rawlinson, together with designer Derek Jenkins, the Air aimed for Mercedes-Benz S-Class levels of space and luxury on the interior but with the footprint of the smaller Mercedes E-Class. Under its ultra-low-drag body was a highly advanced electric vehicle powertrain capable of extremely rapid acceleration, a high top speed, and class-leading range.

But starting a new car company is neither easy nor cheap. Lucid struggled to obtain funding until Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested a billion dollars in the company in 2018, allowing Lucid to complete work on its factory in Arizona and push on with developing the Air.

The company then told us that production would begin in 2020—a date that fell by the wayside thanks to the global pandemic that broke out early that year. At the time, Rawlinson told Ars that production was still possible later that year, and the specs it announced were indeed impressive—more than 1,000 hp (745 kW) and a range of 517 miles (813 km) for the launch version, the Air Dream Edition.

But those big numbers were matched by an equally big price—$169,000, or $139,000 for the slightly less powerful, slightly shorter-range Air Grand Touring.

But 2020 came and went without a production car. In 2021, we got our first ride in a release candidate prototype, but Ars wouldn’t get to sample the Air from behind the driver’s seat until just over a year ago. What we found was a car that was very competent in many areas but missing in others, with uneven build quality between cars.

Since then, the company added some cheaper variants to its lineup—Lucid will sell you an Air Pure for $74,000 after its current incentives are taken into account. But that hasn’t resulted in a glut of orders.

For the last three months of 2023, Lucid built just 2,231 Air EVs and delivered 1,734 of those to customers. The results for the whole year weren’t any better—Lucid built 8,428 cars and delivered 6,001 of those.

As you might expect, that hasn’t been especially good for the company’s share price, which has fallen by 20 percent since the start of the week.

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