Shipments of Lucid Motors’ first all-electric car may not begin until next year, but that hasn’t stopped the automaker from loading its online configurator for those looking to secure a spot in line. The promise to borrow technology from the gaming world to make the customization of the new luxury electric sedan more realistic is arguably a timely implementation of the technology, as many new car buyers are not ready to step into a stationary dealership.
Of course, Lucid doesn’t have any dealers yet. The twenty planned “Lucid Studios and Services Centers” – think showrooms, test drive hubs, and repair facilities – are expected to be open in late 2021
Instead of waiting for it, the automaker took advantage of some new technology that may be better known to those following high-end graphics cards or next-generation consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. With the help of ray tracing and cloud-based rendering of the engine, the vehicle on the screen not only looks more like the later series air, promises Lucid, but can also be updated more easily if various functions, panels and paint options are added.
For example, the configurator appears to be using the same digital model as the car designers themselves. This way, updates to the former can instantly reflect changes to the latter.
Nowadays it is important to get the online configurator just right for your new electric vehicle. After all, it can add up significantly to persuading eager early adopters to make a reservation – even if it’s only $ 100 – as Tesla can attest. The California automaker is notorious for paying reservation fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, which, while refundable, are also a useful stopgap solution for ramping up production lines.
It is not alone, however. We have seen both new EV startups like Nikola support the reservation process and more established companies like VW do the same. For example, if you like the idea of sitting behind the fully electric wheel of a VW ID.4, you can try out the brand new online configurator from Volkswagen and leave a refundable deposit so that you can be at the forefront when the crossover arrives End of the year.
In Lucid’s case, a refundable security deposit of US $ 7,500 is required for those who wish to purchase a 2021 Air Dream Edition, which counts towards the sticker price of US $ 169,000 (pre-destination, tax credits and any incentives). If you don’t mind waiting a little longer – and spending less – for an Air Grand Touring or Air Touring scheduled for summer or late 2021, that’s just a $ 1,000 deposit. You can even look well into 2022, and the regular Lucid Air is expected to start at under $ 80,000. that also commands a deposit of $ 1k.
Those who go through to the final order can apparently go into a Lucid studio and use a 4K virtual reality configurator, viewing their final selections as if the EV itself was parked in front of them. There will also be a “multi-user, multi-car VR experience” powered by ZeroLight – something we played with back in 2019 with the HTC VIVE Pro Eye – so that multiple people can use the same virtual vehicle at the same time can interact time.
Unfortunately, there is no way to use all of that to actually get air to market faster. Production is expected to start later this year. The first deliveries in North America are currently planned for spring 2021, provided there are no delays. In addition, Lucid plans to launch its second vehicle based on the same Air platform in 2023, an all-electric SUV codenamed Project Gravity.