• Lucid announced that its debut car, the Lucid Air, has an estimated range of 517 miles.
  • Lucid’s estimated range smashes the Tesla Model S’s record of 402 miles.
  • If the EPA validates that number, it could prove a key selling point for the newcomer.
  • Range remains a key issue for consumers wary of moving away from internal combustion.
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Lucid Motors, a competitor of Tesla, has announced that its debut car will have a range of 517 miles, touting it as the “longest range electric vehicle to date.”

Lucid’s 517-mile range smashes the Tesla S’s prior record, which clocks in at 402 miles of range. (Tesla has promised 500 miles for its Semi, though the 18-wheeler is yet to enter production.)

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson, who led development of the Model S while working for Elon Musk, has said the Air will outmatch Tesla’s sedan in terms of interior luxury, dash from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, and start at more than $100,000.

But when it comes to battery power, range remains a key selling point for consumers wary of moving away from internal combustion. Tesla made waves in June when it announced that the Model S had achieved an EPA-rated 402-mile range on a single charge. The company broke the 400-mile benchmark by decreasing the weight of the car, making aerodynamic changes, and maximizing regenerative braking.

"We're creating a car which is going to be the best car in the world," Rawlinson told Business Insider in July. "People are going to want it."

To verify its achievement, Lucid hired vehicle development company FEV North America to run the Air through the EPA's test procedures that determine range. The federal agency has not yet confirmed the 517-mile number.

Elon Musk stirred up controversy over EPA ratings in May, when he disputed the agency's rating of 391 miles on the Tesla Model S. Musk said that the car's true range exceeded 400 miles, and the shortfall was the result of improper testing. Tesla released an updated EPA rating of 402 miles in June.

Lucid credits the Air's 500-mile-plus figure, in part, to a drag coefficient of 0.21, which it calls the best in the industry (the Model S clocks a 0.23). The automaker's aerodynamics team, which includes Formula 1 veterans, created a design that smooths air that usually catches along wheel wells and uses strategically-placed air intakes.

Lucid plans to reveal the final version of the car on September 9, and to begin production near the end of the year. Customer deliveries will begin in early 2021.