EV manufacturers keep upping the ante when it comes to their electric cars in United States America. The range has always been a major concern with electric vehicles.
Car makers are putting their technical wizardry to work by introducing EVs with longer ranges. There are rumors that EVs will soon deliver 500 miles on a single charge. Surveys show that US consumers want an EV with a range of 500+ miles. Let’s take a deep dive into the news.
Introducing the 2022 Lucid Air
There is good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news first. There are currently no EVs capable of 500 miles on a single charge.
But this will soon change with the release of the 2022 Lucid Air. The American manufacturer is focusing more on efficiency.
Engineering decisions have been made to maximize range. Some of these optimizations include a very specific aerodynamic shape of the EV.
This also includes an in-house powertrain to boost the range on a single charge. Moreover, Lucid Air is outfitted with a powerful battery pack.
The battery pack will have a capacity of 112 kWh. For perspective, the Mercedes EQS has a battery pack with 80 kWh of energy.
The EQS has a range of 485 miles – which comes dramatically close to the milestone. The Lucid Air also promises speedy charging.
In just under 20 minutes, the sports sedan can add 300 miles to its range. Buyers of the Lucid Air will also get free charging on select stations.
Lucid Air also registers outstanding numbers in terms of performance. It features dual electric motors that can rev up to 20,000 rpm.
This is also why the Air’s horsepower is exceptionally high. It is capable of delivering a whopping 1,111 hp and 1025 lb-ft torque.
Acceleration times for the Air are just as dramatic. It can reach top speeds of 173 mph in just under 2.6 seconds.
To top it off, it can reach top speeds of 173 mph. For reference, the fastest EVs can reach speeds of 160 mph or more. However, the 2022 Tesla Model S is faster at 200 mph.
The only caveat is that the Lucid Air will cost an arm and a leg. Prices start at $77,400 and can shoot up to $180,000. You can also bet the 2022 sports sedan also features an eye-catching yet minimalistic design.
The Air features impressive tech that will blow the competition out of the water. The battery pack will have 22 modules with 6,600 cylindrical cells.
It bears similarities to the designs of battery packs in the Rivian R1T and R1S.
The Lucid Air 2022 will also feature various trims. The one we just discussed is the Dream Edition version.
The Grand Touring trim will have a 112 kWh battery. This is only 6 kWh shy of its bigger cousin. It is believed that Samsung SDI supplies the cells.
Although this may change and LG Chem may supply the battery cells. Lucid takes advantage of their 900 V battery architecture to boost never-before-seen numbers.
This also explains why it can replenish 300 kW in just 20 minutes. Lucid claims that its batteries use smart integration of electrical connections.
Their single-piece injection molded battery makes it easy to manufacture millions of units. This allows battery makers to maximize production at scale.
The Lucid Air also features state-of-the-art tech to achieve 500 miles. The integrated electric motor is small and lightweight.
It features single-speed transmission and proprietary power electronics (known as Wunderbox).
This is not the end of the EV manufacturer’s technical ingenuity. The Lucid Air lineup will be joined by their highly anticipated SUV named “Gravity”.
It is expected that Lucid Motors will sell nearly 120,000 of both cars.
The tech behind Lucid is so advanced that even Tesla can’t help but admire it.
Just this past month, Tesla was spotted test driving Lucid Air to reverse engineer it. Both companies have quite a history between them.
Lucid, for one, has always tried to poach Tesla employees. They hired Peter Rawlinson, a VP and Chief Engineer at Tesla in 2016.
He also happens to be the brains behind Lucid Air to help it break milestones. Tesla, meanwhile, tries to rubbish any rumors of being concerned, often minimizing Lucid’s achievements.
However, Tesla lowered the Model S price in response to Lucid’s Air. This behind-the-scenes struggle for the market reveals that Lucid may have the upper hand here.
Conventional batteries used in electric cars have several engineering problems. For one, they are heavy and expensive to manufacture.
But solid-state batteries can circumvent these issues surrounding battery use in electric cars in California.
The technology allows manufacturers to pack more energy in a compact area. This translates into a greater range.
Solid state batteries aren’t without their flaws. At the time of writing, they are costly to manufacturers.
They have also shown to have a relatively high failure rate. Solid-state batteries are more likely to fail after charging too many times.
Researchers at Samsung are brainstorming new ideas to get around these problems. They are currently looking to replace the lithium metal anodes responsible for the failure rates.
A good contender for replacing lithium metal is silver carbon. The problem with lithium metal is that it grows small dendrites through electrolytes.
This can increase the likelihood of short-circuiting in solid-state batteries. Silver-carbon is a great substitute that has numerous benefits over lithium metal.
For one, it lasts longer, increases battery capacity, and makes everything safer. More importantly, solid-state batteries can pack a lot of capacity.
Their use can allow EVs to have a range of well-exceeding 500 miles. Moreover, these batteries can last for over 1,000 recharges.
On the whole, solid-state batteries occupy 50 percent less volume compared to lithium-ion batteries.
EVs Will Have Less Range in the Future
A major reason why EV makers push for more range is to address consumer paranoia. Motorists are worried that their car will break down in the middle of nowhere.
However, as electric cars like Lucid Air become more commonplace, this fear will die down. The sprawling public supercharging network will also fan fears about range.
Besides, more people will be opting for home charging. Speaking of which, it will take just a few minutes for motorists to charge EVs.
In practice, most people don’t need 500 miles of range – for most journeys. Most electric vehicles can go above 200 miles on a single charge.
This is more than enough for the average motorist. Most people won’t use 200 miles in a single day. They will drive to work, run a few errands, pick up family, and go home.
Motorists would have to go out of their way to use all 200 miles. And if they exceed the range, they can always use a nearby charger.
Thanks to fast charging, EVs can go from 10-to-80 percent in 20 minutes. This is very quick – but it doesn’t beat the convenience of using a gas car.
Besides, there is a gas station at every major intersection in the country. The infrastructure for EVs is still developing.
For example, finding superchargers for electric cars in California can be challenging. And California is among the fastest adopters of electric vehicles.
This would be a major concern for states that haven’t adopted electric cars.
The only time when the range becomes a concern is during those long weekend trips. But even then, 500 miles is overkill for a long drive.
Let’s do the math. Even if you’re traveling at 60mph, it will take eight hours to cover 500 miles. When have you last driven for 8 hours non-stop?
In other words, the hysteria around electric car range is somewhat unfounded.
Let’s take a look at the range of ICE cars.
The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle in the country. Its XLT model has a 23-gallon tank. Even on a full tank, the F-150 will barely cover 500 miles.
What about the most popular SUV, the Toyota Rav4? It can travel 440 miles on a full tank (14.5 gallons).
The most popular car in the country is the Toyota Camry. The cheapest trim on a 15.8-gallon tank barely covers 500 miles.
Electric cars are fast approaching these numbers.
Other Electric Cars with the Longest Range
The 2022 Lucid Air leaves its competition in the dust regarding range. There are other EVs that are stepping up to the challenge, starting with Model S.
Here is a brief overview of electric cars with a relatively high range.
The Model S is said to have the longest range in the Tesla lineup. The vehicle can go up to 405 miles on a single charge.
Tesla has jumped through all kinds of hoops to cram a 120 kWh battery pack. This isn’t to say that Tesla hasn’t made other adjustments.
The EV maker has focused on improving efficiency to increase EV range. For instance, the battery pack has an energy density of 416 Wh/L.
This is a significant improvement over the 245 Wh/L of the original battery. The battery also uses a graphite anode and a Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese cathode.
These changes also added 331 kg to the weight of the battery. However, it added 99.8 kWh of energy.
The Model S can also hit a top speed of 155 mph. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds.
These numbers pale in comparison to the Lucid Air but are nothing to scoff at.
Note that the total range of each EV depends on the specific configuration. We have reviewed the trim with 19-inch wheels.
Opting for larger 21-inch wheels will lower the maximum range. It won’t make a difference in the life of the average motorist.
The EQS comes in two different battery options: 108 kWh and 90 kWh.
Both options can deliver 478 miles and 400 miles, respectively. The luxury sedan also uses a 400V electric architecture featuring an NCM 811 lithium-ion pack.
Depending on the configuration, the batteries consist of 8 to 10 cells. They also feature a thermal management system.
At a range of 1000 miles, the Aptera wins this race – by several hundred miles!
But then again, the Aptera Alpha is not your average electric vehicle. It is a three-wheeled electric vehicle that runs on solar power. There is only room for two passengers.
This makes the Aptera unconventional in the world of electric cars. Unlike most electric cars, the Aptera isn’t competing with ICE cars.
Would it be a fair comparison to list the Aptera Alpha? Probably not, but the tech deserves mention that most EV makers could learn from.
The Aptera makes use of cylindrical shells that follow the 2170 format. This is the same format that is used in the Tesla Model Y and Model 3.
The cells use NMC 811. The cathode composition has a ratio of 80% nickel, 10% manganese, and 10% cobalt.
Is this highly unconventional three-wheeled vehicle even road worthy? That remains to be seen.
Electric makers are tackling the biggest market challenges of driving range and charging.
They seem to have solved this problem with the 2022 Lucid Air. For the most part, the range should not be an issue with electric cars.
The only real concern is waiting long hours to charge electric cars. It can take 24 hours to charge an EV using a slow charger.
This is why you should always plan to stop near ultra-fast DC chargers. Planning ahead is always beneficial in the long run.
Better yet, use your home charger to keep your electric car charged at all times. Pro tip: don’t charge above 80% if you want to conserve your battery!
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.