Short Circuit

The Lucid Air is just a little faster than an aeroplane


A special race went down this week in Germany, setting an electric car against an ultra-light electric aircraft in the ‘E-Flight Challenge 2023’. The organisers aptly chose a Lucid Air sedan to compete against the Elektra Solar plane on a course covering the latest world record in electric flight.

Said record was set by a Pipistrel Velis Elektro in 2020. At 30 minutes of airtime, it took the plane three days and eleven stops to charge to fly 200 kilometres that year.

Fast forwarding to 2023, project partners Elektra Solar (electric aircraft) and Lucid Motors (electric cars) wanted to cover the distance in one day. Editor’s note: An electric car could have made the route in one day, even in 2020.

The slogan was “Factor 5 in 3 years” to highlight the progress in range and technology both on the road and in the air in recent years.

On 29 August, they went off from Gelnhausen in Hesse to the North Sea island of Norderney—the car on the road and the plane in the air. The organisers had calculated that both means of transport would be on an equal footing since traffic jams on the ground, headwinds in the air, diversions or denied clearances by control zones of large airports would influence the race for both contestants.

In the end, the electric car won but only by a very narrow margin: the Lucid Air arrived on Norderney about half an hour before the Elektra Trainer. The deciding factor was the ferry, which the Air reached three minutes before departure with only a few kilometres remaining range. If the car had missed the ferry to stop for charging (as was required in the strict sense), the plane would probably have taken the race. (Thread), (PDF)


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