Lucid Air EV prototype hits 235 mph on a high-speed ring

That's 18 mph faster than the last test.

A few months ago, Lucid Motors made headlines after announcing that the automaker's Air Alpha prototype hit 217 mph on a high-speed ring in Ohio. It appears the car on that run had a top speed limiter as the company didn't know how the Air would behave at those speeds. The Air Alpha prototype recently returned to the Transportation Research Center, posting a top speed of 235 mph. Lucid even believes there might be a little more juice left in the battery.

For all of the talk about straight line performance in EVs, there hasn't been much coverage about these cars' top speeds. Vehicles like the Tesla Model S P100D post hugely impressive acceleration numbers that trounce nearly everything else on the road thanks to instant torque and powerful electric motors, but top speeds tend to be no better than other luxury or performance cars. Lucid wants the Air to be a car without compromise. As such, the top speed should be as good or better than the competition.

According to the automaker, the car that posted the record in April was held back by a number of factors. The 217-mph limiter was put in place because of all the uncertainties surrounding the car. The prototype was also equipped with a parachute in case of an emergency stop, which is actually pretty cool. After the run, Lucid updated the air suspension's software, which couldn't keep up with the lateral movements on the banking at 200 mph. The front motor also ran hotter than what was expected given computer simulations. Both issues were fixed for the second run.

Now, the car in the video and the one that will make it to production are likely very different. The top-speed car appears to have a full roll cage, something we can't imagine will make it to final production, especially with the spaciousness Lucid is touting. The wheels on the test car are flat and built for aerodynamic efficiency. Although they have a nice, purposeful look, they're not the most attractive design. Still, we're looking forward to the final numbers. Lucid Motors looks like the first independent manufacturer that could legitimately compete with Tesla. More competition is almost always a good thing.

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