Sideways in the Snow
Posted by David Lickfold, Engineering Manager, Steering Systems and Chassis Digital Dynamics
The Lucid team recently took our alpha development prototypes to northern Minnesota for winter testing, as the region provides the perfect environment for honing many vehicle attributes. Temperatures as low as -18F (-28C) are tough on just about every element of a vehicle. This extreme environment allows us to build upon extensive simulations and climate chamber development, and to perform grueling real-world cold-driving testing and validation of our powertrain, battery, thermal, body, and chassis systems.
Much of our time in Minnesota was focused on braking systems and vehicle dynamics. Low friction surfaces, such as deep and packed snow, polished ice, and split left-versus-right friction, challenge both the car and the driver, allowing us to develop anti-lock braking, traction control, and stability-control systems to ensure comfortable, stable progress through the worst conditions seen on the road.
The Lucid Air is designed to deliver world-class performance in many driving scenarios. Some drivers prefer to forget the world outside and be cosseted as they're safely and autonomously carried to their destination, whether it be through a bustling city or across a frozen arctic highway. Other drivers prefer to take control and be exhilarated by the combination of power, balance, and driver involvement as they sweep around a mountain pass or a closed track. The Lucid Air is able to effortlessly handle a wide variety of road conditions and use cases, even at -18F in Minnesota, as you can see in the following video:
With 1,000 horsepower on tap from its electric powertrain, the Lucid Air exhibits breath-taking acceleration, which is why it is crucial to focus on balance, control, and handling prowess to ensure safety at all speeds.
The Lucid Air achieves these attributes with the latest technology in powertrain and chassis systems, with the ability to automatically adjust parameters hundreds of times a second to ensure optimal dynamic control. It has an advanced all-wheel drive using two electric motors, one front and one rear, which can modulate drive torque with incredible accuracy and response, giving the ideal torque to the front and rear axles based on surface conditions. We have torque vectoring by braking, working in synchronized harmony with the electric powertrain to direct torque to specific wheels to increase traction and improve cornering ability.
Active suspension ensures both a comfortable ride and an optimized tire contact patch for superb grip and precise handling. These systems, and many more, work hand in hand to deliver magnificent dynamic ability. An advanced modern vehicle can easily rely on technology and forget about the driver. The Lucid Air has advanced technology, but our philosophy is to ensure that these systems always work in harmony with the driver. Technology should never come before feeling. The driver should experience the subtle information being fed from the front tires to their fingers; they should sense the car come alive and gently yaw under throttle mid-corner. The Lucid Air does exactly what the driver wants, when they want it.
At Lucid we believe a car shouldn't be just a mode of transport, a way of getting from A to B. We believe that your vehicle should evoke emotions and make you feel alive. We can't wait to show you how the Lucid Air does that. We look forward to sharing more of what we are creating as the testing progresses.