New version gives the North American EV unbelievable performance figures. Along with the EQS and the Model S, it’s making electric sedans an interesting market niche
- Electric sedans are on the rise now because of their exciting performance
- Lucid is joining the game with the Sapphire, a brand new version of the Air
- This market niche has potential to help sedans stay strong against SUVs
Electric powertrain has had intriguing effects in the car world. For example, it has fostered the foundation of many startup manufacturers, like Lucid and Rivian. It has brought a massive group of unprecedented car models. It has shaken up sales rankings around the world, like what Tesla has been doing in Europe. And it has subverted our conceptions about car performance. The latter is our topic of the day.
In today’s market, anything different from an SUV making success is enough to make enthusiasts happy. However, electric sedans have attracted my attention because they go further. This body style has always been favorable to performance because it is highly aerodynamic. Now, carmakers have found that pairing it to top-tier electric motors can yield awesome results. The Lucid Air Sapphire is just the latest of them.
Why choose electric powertrain?
We all know by now that the auto industry is embracing electrification. While that is happening mostly for rational reasons, we can see some emotional effects as well. One of the first was range anxiety, sadly. But now, after years of hard work, that made room for some niceties. Some cars allow you to choose traction modes, others can ride diagonally or in circles… and others accelerate faster than traditional supercars.
While combustion engines deliver torque gradually, electric motors do it at 100% from the first moment. That allows them not only to reach high speeds more quickly, but also to accelerate with unprecedented strength. In practice, you can feel your body being pushed back in a way that can surely scare first-timers. It was obvious that carmakers would use that for sportiness along with many other recent technologies.
Why choose the sedan body?
City cars in general, like hatchbacks and station wagons, are lower and lighter than SUVs and pickups. The main advantage of that is requiring less energy to move. In fact, there are recent speculations about SUVs being phased out over the next years because of that. Since we are all trying to make cars more efficient, investing in such a bulky car body style is counterproductive to say the least. But there is more to that.
The three-box design makes sedans aerodynamic. Air flows more smoothly over their body and leaves the car with minimal turbulence. Having less resistance to overcome is yet another desirable factor because it reduces energy consumption and increases performance. Electric sedans have a head start in the global market because of all those traits. However, some models are already standing out for brilliant reasons.
Electric sedans can be exciting!
As the pictures anticipate, we are not talking about entry-level cars here. Electric sedans like Lucid Air and Porsche Taycan offer the best in comfort, luxury and safety. Just like they have strong motors, suspension and brakes, they pamper you with large cabins, fine leather, and cutting-edge infotainment. In a way, they are the new grand tourers: cars of this niche are famous for being fast while keeping a composed ride.
Now, I know the target audience here can definitely afford a garage of two cars. However, that does not mean those buyers will settle for a slow luxury car plus an uncomfortable sports car. We are living in times when people expect everything from all car models. And, in this case, people effectively have the money for that. Luxury electric sedans like those have become a beautiful application of modern engineering.
Electric sedans in practice
Let me use the Lucid Air as an example. The carmaker aims to make Sapphire its performance branch just like AMG for Mercedes-Benz and SVR for Jaguar. However, its first product does not scream that through flashy colors or opulent accessories. Lucid focused on the car’s powertrain, which applies three motors to reach a staggering 1,234 hp. And it completely upgraded the car’s dynamics to live up to that power.
There are specific tires and wheels, new suspension tuning, better brakes, and state-of-the-art software to control all that. The latter can adjust countless driving parameters to produce effects like quick cornering, different handling behaviors, and multiple levels of available power. Lucid’s electric sedan even offers three track-oriented driving modes, which balance performance and battery life according to your goals.
What can we expect?
Car and Driver has recently spoken with Lucid’s senior design VP, Derek Jenkins. “I think we’re all big fans of what I would call ‘high performance under the radar.'” In other words, cars that can spend a whole day speeding at Autobahn speeds while seating its occupants with the finest leather and virtually no noise or vibration. Some people call those cars grand tourers while others use the more informal term sleepers.
SUVs can be fancy and quick too, of course. However, they lack the grace of a sedan. They are too tall and bulky, while a typical sedan is naturally delicate and subtle. The carmaker may then decide whether to use those attributes and build something as elegant as the Lucid Air Sapphire, or blatant as the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm. It is just a matter of time for automakers to be able to make electric sedans in both ways.
While electric sedans are technically new, we can say they reinterpret a traditional market niche. The press has already praised the Model S Plaid, the Taycan, and the EQS AMG, among others. Now, it is welcoming the Air Sapphire into such a distinctive group. As electrification increases its portion of the market around the world, you can expect them to become even more popular. Would buy an electric sedan like those?
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While the Lucid Air has all the panache of coming from an ambitious startup, there are other electric sedans that offer the values of traditional companies. You can learn more about two of them here.
Danillo Almeida has explored his passion for cars in two distinct ways. The first one is his graduation course in Mechanical Engineering, which will hopefully lead to a job position in the field. The other one is expressing his knowledge and opinions on the matter through writing. Almeida has already contributed to blogs, stores, and websites in general writing automotive content in many formats.