Lucid Motors Air EV hits 235 mph in must-watch speed test

Further demonstrating that electric cars don't have to also be boring cars, Lucid Motors has taken its high-speed prototype to the track, this time without a limiter. The Lucid Air Alpha prototype last made headlines in April, when the automaker startup took it out for some performance testing. Then, it hit 217 mph on the oval, running into Lucid's safety-minded speed limiter.

The success of that trial – and the lessons learned – was enough to convince the engineers that a second run was in order, this time with the limiter removed. For a start, the air suspension was reprogrammed so as to improve its responsiveness when heavily loaded, such as at high speeds. Lucid had spotted that it was simply not able to adjust swiftly enough when at around 200 mph on a high-banked track.

The front motor, meanwhile, got new coolant flow and ventilation systems. Previously, it had been found to be running hotter than expected under stress. Lucid Motors threw on some aerodynamically-efficient wheels, deleted the speed limiter, and then went back to the oval.

Results there were more than promising. After coming out of the banked curve at 215 mph, the Air Alpha prototype hit 235.44 mph on the straight. More importantly, it did so without any of the suspension issues from the last tests, while the thermal levels stayed within what Lucid says were the specifications for the run.

"While it may be the top speed achievable on that day, with those conditions, and at this stage of development for the Alpha Speed Car, it is not the final production top speed for the Lucid Air," the automaker says. That, of course, could be taken in one of two ways. Either the production car will be even faster, or it will be limited to a lower speed in favor of greater battery life.

We'll have to wait and see exactly what the final specifications are. Deposits are currently being taken, with full ordering likely to begin either late this year or early next year. Production, meanwhile, is expected to kick off in late 2018.

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