Here’s Why MotorTrend Chose a $169K EV as Car of the Year

The Lucid Air is a new luxury sedan from former Tesla exec and engineer Peter Rawlinson

The Lucid Air, a luxury electric sedan from Lucid Motors, sitting in the driveway of a modern house. The EV won MotorTrend's 2022 Car of the Year award.
Here it is, folks, MotorTrend's 2022 Car of the Year.
Lucid Motors

American automotive magazine MotorTrend has doled out its prestigious Car of the Year award to high-end vehicles and affordable rides alike since debuting the prize in 1949. Last year, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class won out, a luxury sedan that starts at $55,300 but, as the magazine noted at the time, could “quickly climb north of six figures.” In previous years, economy models like the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic beat out the luxury competition. This year, the award goes to possibly the most expensive car in the prize’s history.

The MotorTrend 2022 Car of the Year is the electric Lucid Air, a luxury sedan from American EV startup Lucid Motors. While the magazine touts the entry-level Air Pure version of the car at a price point of $77,400, you can’t actually buy that car yet as it’s due out in the middle of next year. The only two models that have been available this year, narrowly making the award cutoff with the first deliveries on October 30, are the Performance and Range versions of the Air Dream Edition, both of which cost $169,000 and are currently sold out as they were only offered in limited numbers.

If a plaything for the ultra-wealthy sold by a brand new automaker sounds like an odd, potentially polarizing choice for Car of the Year, MotorTrend succinctly justifies its choice at the end of the writeup: “In the long run, we believe electric vehicles are the way forward for cars and mobility, and the way forward for electric vehicles is continuous improvement of electric batteries, motors, and charging. That’s why the great looking, strong performing, tech-leapfrogging Lucid Air is MotorTrend’s 2022 Car of the Year.”

When MotorTrend gave Tesla this award in 2013 for its Model S sedan, it was acknowledging that the automaker was lightyears ahead of everyone else in the electric vehicle space. Now, it’s making a similar case for Lucid, whose CEO and CTO is Peter Rawlinson, a former Tesla VP and the chief engineer of the award-winning Model S. 

We’ve heard about the Lucid Air’s headline-making specs, including 520 miles of range in the Dream Edition Range, which is 115 miles more than the longest range Tesla. But as MotorTrend writes, the most important thing about Lucid is not that it has packed in the biggest battery; it’s that the design team has thoughtfully considered all the elements of its EV in order to push electrification to new heights of efficiency, performance and practicality, from the design of the motor to the battery pack to the Wunderbox, which Lucid describes as “a unique, multi-function unit, developed entirely in-house to ensure compatibility with, and the maximizing of, charging systems of differing voltages, specifically boost-voltage charging.”

You may not be able to afford a Lucid Air, but its impact on the EV industry is bound to be monumental. And if you’re just not into the sedan design, they are working on an SUV called the Gravity. Look out for that in MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year prospects for 2024.

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