LONDON: A Saudi-backed electric vehicle has broken through the 500-mile range barrier from a single charge as global manufacturers race to extend battery life.
Lucid Motors, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a major investor, on Wednesday announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan.
The car maker claims that the results confirm that the Lucid Air is the longest-range electric vehicle to date.
So-called “range anxiety,” where drivers fear being stranded without power in their cars, is a high priority for electric vehicle manufacturers in convincing people to make the switch from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured,” said Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson.
“A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.”
The PIF agreed a $1 billion investment deal with Lucid Motors two years ago to develop the car at a factory in Arizona. The plant initially will have an annual capacity of 34,000 vehicles, building toward 360,000 about seven years later.
The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online event on Sept. 9, 2020.
In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared. Customer deliveries will begin in early 2021.
Range is one of the biggest factors for consumers mulling the purchase of an electric vehicle, which is why manufacturers such as Elon Musk’s Tesla are investing heavily in battery technology.
China’s CATL which supplies Tesla, said on Wednesday that it was also working on a new technology allowing battery cells to be integrated into a vehicle’s chassis which would allow range to be extended to more than 500 miles.
Sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019, to boost the total stock to 7.2 million electric cars, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.
Consultancy Deloitte expects electric vehicle sales to rise from 4 million in 2020 to 21 million in 2030.