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Lucid says its first electric car drove 445 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco without charging, easily besting Tesla’s range

Lucid Air Lucid Air.

In a range assessment with Motortrend, the Lucid Air drove 445 miles on a charge with energy to spare. Tesla has led the range game for years with the Model S, which has an EPA range of 405 miles. Coherent claims its $169,000 Air Dream can advance up to 517 miles on a full battery. See more narrations on Insider's business sheet.

Electric-vehicle startup Lucid Motors is on the cusp of delivering its first vehicle: the Air sedan. But it was better faces the daunting task of persuading buyers to go with an untested upstart over a confirm EV maker like its biggest contender, Tesla.

There's one key border that Lucid may have over Elon Musk: wander. Lucid proved that the Air passes Tesla's best automobiles a run for their fund and then some during a recent wander in the car with Motor Trend.

Lucid claims the limited-run Air Dream Edition, its first vehicle, can pass up to 517 miles on a full artillery, over 100 miles more than the Tesla Model S, which has dominated the wander game for years.

Motor Trend drove an Air 445 miles from Los Angeles to the Bay Area on a single blame and memo 30 miles of straddle remained, a achievement that would otherwise have been inconceivable precisely a few years ago.( Tesla crossed the 400 -mile-range threshold just last year ). The outlet made the journey with Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson, whose identical vehicle testified 72 miles of accusation left, lending up to a total range of 517 miles.

Read more: Rivian rival Lucid's CEO says he retarded his $77,000 EV by almost one year because he can't gamble on quality control:' We have one shot at this '

Range is a top consideration for EV buyers who want to comfortably take long jaunts even as charging infrastructure in the US lags. That Lucid can raise a vehicle with a assortment so far ahead of the event( albeit at a high price) bodes well for the future development in the murderer and increasingly bundled EV space.

Motor Trend and Rawlinson originated the tour in a duo of Dream Edition Range representations, which Lucid announced on Wednesday would be an available balance in addition to Dream Edition Performance representations. The Performance version promises 1,111 horsepower and a 2.5 -second 0-60-mph epoch, while the Range variant is more geared toward squeezing out mileage. It still claims a bonkers 933 horsepower.

Both vehicles start at $169,000, but Lucid has more inexpensive autoes in the pipeline. Lucid delayed the Air's launch from the springtime and plans to start shipping Airs by late 2021.

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Infiniti’s new chief lays out his grand plan to revive the flailing luxury brand, whose sales have dropped 50% since 2017

Infiniti QX55
New Infiniti chairman Peyman Kargar highlights the just-released QX55 as a sign that the brand's fortunes are turning around.

Infiniti has struggled in recent years, seeing sales fall far behind those of its competitors.
Their cars are "nice enough, but not class-leading or world-beating," one analyst said.
New chairman Peyman Kargar intends to revive the brand with a few key moves.
See more stories on Insider's business page.

Peyman Kargar has a big new job. Appointed in June of 2020 as the chairman of Nissan's up-market Infiniti line, he has taken the helm of a brand in free-fall. Since 2017, Infiniti has seen its sales decline by 50%, one of the steepest plummets in recent automotive history. Last year, the brand sold just 79,000 vehicles in America. Lexus sold 275,000 and increased their market share by nearly 7%. Even Buick sold 162,000 cars. Ford sells about 79,000 F-series pickups every month.

But when we asked Kargar if the brand was in a troubled position, he denied it. "I wouldn't say in trouble," he said. "I would say Infiniti is not giving the maximum of its potential." Clarifying further, he claimed that the brand wasn't thriving for one simple reason. "We didn't bring enough new products to our customers."

This seems like a major issue for a company that's business is selling new cars, especially ones that should exhibit the leading edge of technology and engineering; systems developed for high-end Infinitis should trickle down into mainstream Nissans.

Infiniti chairman Peyman Kargar
Kargar is charged with reviving a brand whose sales have dropped 50% in the past few years.

However, Kargar claimed that the other two "pillars" of the brand beyond product-people, and network-were in fine order. "We have one of the highest levels of satisfaction with customers," he said, neglecting the fact that, in February, Consumer Reports' annual ranking of customer brand satisfaction placed Infiniti dead last.

Moreover, the marque's identity seems murky. "If you think about Infiniti fifteen years ago, the brand message was pretty clear. It was trying to be a Japanese BMW. Performance-oriented, handling-oriented," said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for automotive research firm AutoPacific.

"Over the past decade, the Infiniti lineup has pulled away from this positioning, and it has moved to a positioning that I think is very hard for people to understand or define." Announcements about plans to return the brand to its former positioning, or move it to fully electric-powered platforms-followed by immediate rescinding-did not help clarify things.

According to Kim, this time period has also seen a steep decline in the innovative and compelling nature of the brand's vehicles. "Their products have generally been nice enough, but not class-leading or world-beating," he said. In fact, the offerings have declined to such a degree that the brand must offer strong discounts to bring in customers, competing not with Audis or BMWs, but with well-equipped Hondas. "It's kind of become a price brand, as opposed to a brand that people might lust after," Kim said. "And with a premium luxury brand, value and price is not really the image you want to associate with."

The QX55 we tested featured the same joy-sapping continuously variable transmission Nissan has been saddling its vehicles with for years, as well as uninspired handling, Kia-level materials.

Finally, the brand has failed to distinguish itself from its parent, Nissan. Shared platforms and power trains are necessary to achieve the economies of scale required in the contemporary auto industry. But a premium brand must feel superior in various categories-including driving dynamics, material quality, performance, design, and owner experience-to justify its price and positioning. Infiniti's recent products have not accomplished this. "The QX60 was just a re-skinned Pathfinder," said Kim. "If you drove the cars back-to-back, they drove exactly the same. It's not like the QX60 was even quieter or more refined."

Kargar claimed that the brand's new mission would rectify these issues by focusing on "reconnecting to our heritage and making sure that we are protecting our main values." These values, according to him, include being "daring, forward, and human-centric, and to be able to offer really attractive products related to these values." He also emphasized uniqueness and innovation, and being a brand that "never tried to copy and paste others."

He held up as an example the just-released QX55, a five-passenger, five-door crossover coupe that brings Infiniti back to a category it helped originate in the early 2000s with its high-riding, high-powered FX. Though the QX55 features handsome, creasy styling, and though Kargar touted the fact that Infiniti is "going to be the only Japanese carmaker coming with a crossover coupe," its shape and dimensions mimic almost exactly those of the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Audi Q5 Sportback, and BMW X4, and follows a format that Honda's premium brand Acura used back in 2009 with its ZDX.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph
"The QX60 Concept looks nice and it obviously doesn't look like a Pathfinder," said analyst Ed Kim.

Kargar also cited the forthcoming QX60, the final design of which has not been locked, but which he said would adhere closely to the smoothly elegant QX60 Monograph concept the brand has shown recently.

Kim vouched for these designs, with a caveat. "The QX55 is genuinely pretty, and the QX60 Concept looks nice and it obviously doesn't look like a Pathfinder," he said. "But it doesn't cost any more money to style a really good looking car than a bad looking car." Styling, thus, doesn't evince real investment. He said that the proof will come only when critics and consumers can drive these vehicles. "If we can tell that a QX60, in its drive experiences, is worth the extra price, and whether the QX55, with its nice styling, is able to justify the premium over a mainstream brand product or against other sporty crossovers in the segment."

Our recent time in the QX55 suggests that the answer is, sadly, no. The model we tested, which was priced at $58,000 with options, featured the same joy-sapping continuously variable transmission Nissan has been saddling its vehicles with for years, as well as uninspired handling, Kia-level materials, and a confounding split-screen infotainment system with a crisp but dysfunctional lower screen, and a woefully outdated and fuzzy upper navigation interface pulled right from the Nissan parts bin, circa 2009.

Perhaps the next round of products will make good on Kargar's more elusive promises. But with parent company Nissan slashing non-core models as it continues to dig out of its fiscal quagmire, and new premium brands like Hyundai's Genesis creating extremely compelling, fresh, and well-designed product at the same price point, time is tight.

"I don't see Infiniti going away," Kim said. "Corporate pride won't let Nissan shut down Infiniti when their primary competitors in Japan-Toyota and Honda-each have premium brands. But it's going to be extremely important for Infiniti to elevate its products from a hardware perspective, as well as from a brand image and consumer perception perspective. There's definitely a lot of work to be done there."

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