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Lucid Air vs. Tesla Model S: Luxury EV Sedan Battle

by Nick Versaw Updated March 23rd, 2022

Lucid Air vs Tesla: white Tesla

Tesla revolutionized the electric car space when it introduced the Model S in 2012. Since then, this all-electric automaker has gotten stronger and improved its flagship sedan significantly.

While Tesla has improved, it’s also picked up many new competitors, including the all-new Lucid Air. This luxury sedan from startup car company Lucid Motors offers many features that rival the Model S, but which is the better option for you.

In this Lucid Air vs. Tesla Model S head-to-head comparison, you’ll learn the ins and outs of both machines, allowing you to make an educated buying decision.


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Lucid Air vs. Tesla Model S

The Lucid Air and Tesla Model S are long-range, high-performing premium electric sedans. Let’s see how they stack up in a head-to-head competition. 

Exterior Design

Lucid Air exterior

The Lucid Air sedan looks almost like it’s ripped from a movie based 20 years in the future. With its long roofline, sleek body panels, bar-style lighting, and eye-grabbing wheels, the Lucid Air is sure to attract customers looking for a car that’ll stand out in a crowd.

The Tesla Model S is no slouch in the looks department either. However, next to the Lucid Air, it looks mainstream. But its body is still sleek and will attract buyers who prefer not to attract the gawks of passersby.

While the Lucid Air’s long roofline makes it seem like a much larger vehicle, the Model S and Air are similarly sized. 

Exterior Spec Comparison

Measurement Tesla Model S Lucid Air
Length 197.7 in. 195.9 in
Width (including mirrors) 86.2 in. 86.5 in.
Height 56.3 in. 55.5 in.
Wheelbase 116.5 in. 116.5 in.

Interior Design

Inside, the Tesla Model S is about as simple as they come for a luxury electric vehicle. Yes, it has premium materials, like synthetic leather, but it’s cabin is mostly free of clutter. This is thanks to its massive 15-inch tablet-style infotainment screen with all the heating and air conditioning controls built into it. The Model S also features a digital gauge cluster to further clean up the dash and a U-shaped steering wheel for a more futuristic look.

Despite having its massive touchscreen, the Model S does not offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Lucid Air vs Tesla: Lucid Air interior

Inside the Lucid Air there is a lot more going on than the Model S, but it’s still relatively tame. More soft materials rival the likes of Volvo and Land Rover, making it look and feel more luxurious than the Model S. The Lucid Air matches the Tesla Model S with its huge tablet-style touchscreen and 31-inch digital instrument panel. The Air has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, unlike the Model S.

Interior Spec Comparison

Measurement Tesla Model S Lucid Air
Front headroom 39.7 in. 39.5 in
Front legroom 42.4 in 45.4 in.
Front shoulder room 58.4 in. 58.3 in.
Rear headroom 38.1 in. 38.3 in.
Rear legroom 35.5 in. 35.8 – 37.4 in.
Rear shoulder room 55.1 in 54.5 in.
Front trunk volume 3.1 cu.-ft. 7.1 cu.-ft.
Cargo room standard 25 cu.-ft. 16.1 cu.-ft.
Max cargo room 61.4 cu.-ft. N/A

Inside, these models have very similar dimensions, but the Model S wins big in maximum cargo. This makes it ideal for a family that likes to haul larger cargo, like a bicycle or other large equipment. 

Powertrain

While the Lucid Motors Air and Tesla Model S are both amazing cars in many ways, their powertrains make them very special.

The Lucid Air comes in a wide range of flavors, starting with the Air Pure, which will come standard with a single electric motor and rear-wheel drive (RWD), but it’ll have optional dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD). This model will crank out 480 horsepower, but there are no details on its 0-60 mph sprint time.

The next step is the Air Touring, which boasts 620 horsepower and standard dual-motor AWD for a 3.2-second 0-60 mph sprint. Moving up from there is the Air Grand Touring, which features up to 800 horsepower, depending on the battery setup, and standard dual-motor, which translates to a 3-second 0-60 mph time.

The range-topping Lucid Air Dream Edition features dual-motor AWD and 933 horsepower to start, but you can upgrade to the 1,111-horsepower Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance model. These models deliver a 2.5- to 2.7-second 0-60 mph time and a 168 mph top speed.

The Model S comes in just two flavors. Tesla doesn’t list the base model’s horsepower, but it comes standard with dual-motor AWD and shoots to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. The range-topping Tesla Model S Plaid features 1,020 horsepower, dual-motor AWD, a 1.99-second 0-60 time, and a 200-mph top speed.

The Lucid Air and Tesla Model S are not for the faint-hearted. The Model S is nothing less than insane with its sub-2-second to 3.1-second 0-60 time, and some buyers may find this a bit much. These shoppers may prefer the more timid Lucid Air Pure. 

But for those who crave a supercar but need a sedan, the Tesla Plaid trim is the right car for you.

Efficiency

Lucid Air vs Tesla: Tesla Model S

Their performance is amazing, but many shoppers look to the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S for efficiency, and both deliver.

The Tesla Model S’ driving range starts at 405 miles in the base model and drops to 396 miles in the Plaid model.

The Lucid Air Dream Edition range checks in at an EPA-certified 520 miles on a single charge for the 933-horsepower model. The Grand Touring model is next with an EPA-estimated 516-mile range. The Dream Edition with 1,111 horsepower checks in with an EPA-certified 471 miles of range. Finally, the Ait Touring and Air Pure, which haven’t been through EPA testing, are projected to offer a 406-mile EV driving range.

The Lucid Air’s EPA estimates are only available on the Grand Touring and Dream Edition models. The Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels delivers 130 MPGe city, 132 MPGe highway, and 131 MPGe combined. Add the 21-inch wheels, and the Grand Touring falls to 121 MPGe city, 122 MPGe highway, and 121 MPGe combined. 

The Lucid Air Dream Edition with 933 horsepower delivers 126 MPGe city, 125 MPGe highway, and 125 MPGe combined. Add 21-inch wheels, and this model falls to 115 MPGe city, 117 MPGe highway, and 116 MPGe combined.

The Lucid Air Dream Edition with 1,111 horsepower delivers 117 MPGe city, 114 MPGe highway, and 116 MPGe combined. With the optional 21-inch wheels, it falls to 110 MPGe city, 111 MPGe highway, and 111 MPGe combined.

The EPA estimates the average driver will pay $500 per year charging the Grand Touring and 933-horsepower Dream Edition models with the 19-inch wheels. The Grand Touring with 21-inch wheels, the 1,111-horsepower Dream Edition model with 19-inch wheels, and the 933-horsepower Dream Edition model will run an estimated $550 per year to charge. Finally, the 1,111-horsepower Dream Edition with 21-inch wheels will cost an estimated $600 per year to charge this EV

Lucid Air Efficiency

Fuel economy (MPGe city/highway/combined) Electric driving range Cost to charge for 1 year
Lucid Air Pure TBD 406 mi. (est.) TBD
Lucid Air Touring TBD 406 mi. (est.) TBD
Lucid Air Grand Touring (19-in. wheels) 130/132/131 516 mi. $500
Lucid Air Grand Touring (21-in. wheels) 121/122/121 469 mi. $550
Lucid Air Dream Edition (933-hp w/ 19-inch wheels) 126/125/125 520 mi. $500
Lucid Air Dream Edition (933-hp w/ 21-inch wheels) 115/117/116 481 mi. $550
Lucid Air Dream Edition (1,111-hp w/ 19-inch wheels) 117/114/116 471 mi. $550
Lucid Air Dream Edition (1,111-hp w/ 21-inch wheels) 110/111/111 451 mi. $600

 

For the Model S, the EPA rates its fuel economy equivalent at 124 MPGe city, 115 MPGe highway, and 120 MPGe combined in its base trim. The Model S Plaid delivers 119 MPGe city, 112 MPGe highway, and 116 MPGe combined. Adding the optional 21-inch wheels drops the Plaid model to 102 MPGe city, 99 MPGe highway, and 101 MPGe combined. 

The EPA estimates the average driver will spend $550 per year charging the base and Plaid Model S and $650 per year on the Plaid with 21-inch wheels. 

Tesla Model S Efficiency

Fuel economy (MPGe city/highway/combined) Electric driving range Cost to charge for 1 year
Tesla Model S 124/115/120 405 mi. $550
Tesla Model S Plaid (19-in. wheels) 117/112/116 396 mi. $550
Tesla Model S Plaid (21-in. wheels) 102/99/101 348 mi. $650

Safety Features

There is no shortage of safety features on both electric cars. The Lucid Air comes standard with DreamDrive, the automaker’s suite of safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, surround-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control. 

Lucid also offers DreamDrive Pro, which is standard on the Grand Touring and Dream Edition models and a $9,000 upgrade on all other models, and has “hardware for semi-autonomous driving functionality with over-the-air updates.“

The Model S comes standard with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and lane-keep assist. There is also a $12,000 upgrade to AutoPilot, which includes self-driving hardware and can handle lane changes, parking, and driving without driver intervention. AutoPilot also has a summon feature that allows the driver to summon the vehicle to them from a parking space, a la a valet.

Pricing

Neither the Lucid Air nor the Tesla Model S is cheap, as they are luxury electric vehicles. The Lucid Air starts from $77,400 for the Pure trim level and tops out at $169,000 for the Dream Edition. The Lucid Air also qualifies for up to a $7,500 federal tax credit and other state and local green vehicle credits.

Lucid Air Pricing

  • Lucid Air Pure: $77,400
  • Lucid Air Touring: $95,000
  • Lucid Air Grand Touring: $139,000
  • Lucid Air Dream Edition: $169,000

The Tesla Model S comes in just two trim levels: base and Plaid. The base model starts from $94,990, and the Plaid trim starts at $129,990. The big downside to the Tesla Model S is it no longer qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit, though it may still qualify for local and state incentives.

How to Buy

The Tesla Model S has been around since 2012, so there are plenty of used models on the market to pick from. Also, in years past, Tesla offered a more robust selection of Model S trims with lower prices than we see today. So, there’s a good chance you can find a quality pre-owned Tesla Model S for far less than today’s MSRP.

If you want a new Model S but can swing the financing payment, you can lease one. The base model starts from $1,239 per month with $7,500 due at signing on a 36-month lease. The Model S Plaid jumps to $1,749 with $7,500 due at signing.

As for the Lucid Air, deliveries haven’t started yet, so saving on a used model will take some time. As for leasing, Lucid hasn’t announced a leasing program yet, which is no surprise for this startup automaker. However, we should see a lease program at some point.

Lucid Air vs. Tesla Model S: The Right Model for You

The Model S and Air are both great luxury EVs with excellent energy storage to consider and cater to mostly the same types of buyers. However, the Lucid Air has a lower starting price on a model that has more traditional performance specs, attracting customers who don’t need supercar-like quarter-mile drag times.

On the flip-side, the Air’s wild design could turn off some buyers. So, those who prefer a more traditional sedan look will likely see the value in spending up to the Tesla Model S.

Let Compare.com Help You Find the Right EV

Lucid Air features

The Lucid Air and Tesla Model S are both incredible electric vehicles that feature upscale amenities, huge gasoline-free driving ranges, and incredible performance.

Whichever model is best for you, Compare.com can help you find one with its powerful electric car search tool. Plus, our electric car buying guide will help you learn everything you need to know about electric cars before making the EV commitment.


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