A year after taking the technology lead with incredible range, power, and efficiency, the Lucid Air has matured its user experience without losing those headlining qualities that made it the new leading edge for EVs.
We spent just over a week with a 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring to experience exactly how the startup automaker’s improved the only portion of the car that felt a little bit like a work in progress earlier in the year: the interface.
The automaker’s UX 2.0, which is what Lucid dubbed its largest over-the-air update to date and a complete overhaul of its interface, arrived in October.
Just before I pulled out of the Beverly Hills Lucid Gallery, Lucid reminds me that the entire system’s been rewritten despite looking nearly the same. The differences are minor but add up.
The interface itself works nearly the same as before, but now it’s instant-on. The digital gauge cluster and three touchscreens all come online and are ready to use the second the doors are opened. Previously the system took seconds to boot up. Seconds doesn’t sound like a long time, but it feels like it once you’re in the driver’s seat buckled and ready to go.
The system’s varied levels of lag has vanished. Tap a button and it works. Open a menu and it works. Tap the turn signal and the blind-spot camera system engages, placing the view from alongside the car in the cluster. Inputting a destination into the navigation system is a breeze and I wasn’t able to outtype the system.
The largest design change to the interface is the location of the virtual buttons on the right side of the dashboard’s curved 34-inch screen housing the digital gauge cluster, vehicle controls, and media system. Those buttons now are on the left rail closer to the driver rather than on the right closer to the passenger. It takes less of a reach to use them and means the driver’s eyes don’t have to travel as far to locate them.
Lucid’s also added turn-by-turn directions to the right hand side of the digital gauge cluster. Drivers will see their next turn, the turn after that, time of arrival, minutes away, how far away the destination is, and estimated state of charge upon arrival. All of this has been added to the cluster without cluttering the driver’s view of the speedometer, power meter, and other driving aid functions. It remains a clean and simple display layout.
A small but rather noteworthy change is the ability to open the frunk via a hard button on the left side of the gauge cluster. This new button replaced the previous child lock button based on owner feedback. Even as a parent this seems like a smart move as turning child locks on and off isn’t a daily function.
Notably the update added a Highway Assist feature with active lane centering and adaptive cruise control. The adaptive cruise control system operated smoothly without ever eliciting a comment from my wife or daughter who experience motion sickness. But my wife’s tolerance for the lane-centering feature was low as it failed to keep the car centered in the lane with a ping-pong effect between the painted white lines.
Over a week, the Air Lucid deployed three OTA software updates, all of which I installed on my test vehicle via the iOS Lucid app. Two of those updates landed on Thanksgiving day.
Update 2.0.25 arrived on November 22 and claimed enhancements with the vehicle’s onboard connectivity, diagnostics, and wireless communications systems aimed at optimizing the over-the-air update experience. This update installed in about five minutes, which is exactly how long the app claimed it would take.
After this update took place the test-drive Air’s navigation system suddenly lost the ability to speak. It was as if the system was on mute, but it wasn’t. “Key cycling” the car by locking it and putting it to sleep didn’t fix the issue. A quick Google search revealed other owners had experienced this issue and had resolved the problem by switching user profiles. The Internet’s solution worked. Switching from the user profile I had been using to a different profile and then back again brought back voice-guided navigation and the glitch never reappeared.
Update 2.0.28 arrived on Thanksgiving and included a bevy of enhancements ranging from the operation of the charge port door’s automatic close feature (the charge port door already operated in a smoother fashion than that of the Cadillac Lyriq) to optimization of the headlight and automatic high-beam functions, smoothing the automatic side mirror folding operation and more. This update, executed from my phone, took just over 20 minutes to install despite the app claiming it would take 34 minutes.
Update 2.0.33 arrived later on Thanksgiving and was the largest of the three. It installed SiriusXM in beta form, with a full release version said to come via an OTA update in 2023, along with a 3-month trial for owners. The app claimed this update would take 54 minutes and it was accurate. Poof! Suddenly SiriusXM was now one of the source options on the Air’s infotainment system for media. It worked flawlessly. Neat trick, Lucid.
But there’s still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Lucid told GCR this is still in the works.
The rest of the Air experience hasn’t changed.
A year later and the Air’s still gorgeous with a distinct design that borders on something that might’ve come from Citroën. The clamshell hood provides clean lines while the clamshell trunk lid provides a low liftover height. The slim LED lighting elements accentuate the Air’s width while the long dash-to-axle ratio paired with the long hood give it a proper luxury-car stance.
But that low front profile and ride height that looks so pretty delivers some real-world headaches. Speed bumps must be taken slowly, care must be taken when pulling into a parking lot, and the valet at the hotel had to be extremely careful and go at the most extreme angle to not scrape the underside of the Air. He scraped it once. Sorry about that, Lucid.
The low roofline also makes getting in and out of the Air a painful event if one forgets or doesn’t remember to duck their head. Ask my father.
The Air’s cargo hauling ability is still something to behold. The frunk and trunk both feature false floors with the former having a total of 10.0 cubic feet of space and the latter 22.1 cubic feet of space. The Air swallowed a family of four’s luggage with aplomb.
Still a winner
A year later and the Lucid Air is still the longest-range electric car in production. With the Sapphire model coming online in 2023 it’ll also likely become the quickest, and most powerful, production sedan in the world. The Air Pure model, which is now being delivered, lowers the model’s base price to $88,900 including destination while undercutting the Tesla Model S.
With a refined user interface joining the already winning formula, the Air is somehow even more attractive than it was a year ago.
- Report: Used Tesla prices are dropping fast
- Each EV with V2G charger might earn $15,000 over 10 years
- Rivian EDV: All about electric vans for Amazon and beyond
- VW platform for affordable EVs will get mid-decade boost
- Nio EC7 flagship EV: The most aerodynamic SUV in the world?