Natick Mall’s new Lucid Motors luxury electric car showroom and service center, which opened in mid-December, felt somehow familiar to me on my first visit, yet part of an alternative world.
I used to buy tires and get our cars serviced from time to time at the Sears Auto Center that once occupied part of the space—plus my TV repairman-turned-satellite-TV-installer-turned-garage-door-opener-installer Dad sometimes used to operate out of there for Sears. But the busy cut-through Sears shop that closed in 2018 has given way to a spacious and welcoming Lucid studio that brings a California vibe to the mall. Lucid seeks to sell locals on vehicles that earned the prestigious MotorTrend Car of the Year honors for 2022 based in large part on their exceptional 500-plus-mile range when fully charged and their super-fast charging capabilities.
Like so many businesses these days, Lucid doesn’t let many of its employees speak for the company to the press. So we’re left with what they say in marketing outreach featuring obligatory references to being on an EV “journey,” etc. I won’t attribute any direct comments to specific people. But my escort through the showroom and the row of demo cars outside was a helpful “studio advisor” who was well versed on the Lucid line and the electric vehicle market in general. My guide enjoys the team atmosphere at Lucid’s Natick location (Lucid’s hiring) as well as the available support from the Seaport showroom in Boston that opened this past spring.
I made clear that I was there to write a post about the showroom and take some photos, not purchase a vehicle or test drive one. Lucid lists its Air Touring model starting at $107,400, which is more than I’ve paid for a lifetime of cars to this point. Although my lack of car cred was obvious, I was nevertheless invited to sit in a Lucid Air Grand Touring model on the showroom floor and check out its futuristic features.
I’m no car guy (says the owner of such vehicles over the years as a Dodge Colt, Nissan Versa, and a Saturn). But my powers of observation told me that the Lucid sedan is a roomy, beautiful vehicle that comes with a classy and aromatic leather interior (a vegan version that doesn’t use real leather is also available), a seemingly endless glass canopy with ultraviolet protection, and a multiscreen touch-and-voice-activated dashboard complemented by a few physical buttons so as not to overwhelm the driver with tech. Lucid acknowledges it has some work to do on its software, and car reviewers have in general been patient with this.
Trash talk from a rival
If you’re not familiar with Lucid, the company started in 2007 with a focus on EV components and didn’t deliver its first vehicles until 2021. CEO Peter Rawlinson was chief engineer of Telsa’s Model S, and we were told plenty of ex-Tesla employees have been filling Lucid’s ranks. Lucid has gotten the attention of Tesla’s Elon Musk, who recently warned about the rival’s prospects (“They are not long for this world”).
At Natick Mall, now both Lucid and Tesla have showrooms, and you can schedule a test drive for Lucid online. You can also just pop into the showroom and look around. A steady stream of visitors roamed while I was there on a Wednesday afternoon.
Back to the Lucid Air Grand Touring model on the showroom floor: the studio advisor showed some of the car’s fancy features, including a variety of relaxing and stimulating massage settings for the seats. These might well be needed given the vehicle’s long range per charge.
From there I was given a quick tour of the showroom, including public restrooms, a merchandise store, a refreshments station and lounge, and a configuration room, where mini models of Lucid Airs and samples of their interiors help give you a feel for which color scheme might be for you. The palettes are inspired by California locations like the Mojave Desert—I asked if a Natick-inspired theme might be on the way (snowstorm white?), but was told that was highly unlikely.
For those who “reserve” (aka, buy) a car, you can arrange to have it delivered to your house, another location, or pick it up at the Natick showroom’s glassed-off delivery bay. No elaborate ceremony awaits you, but you will get a thorough briefing on the car, a customized user interface set-up, plus a gift bag.
Natick, an auto enthusiast’s dream town
We took a quick look at the service area, but I was asked not to take photos to protect the privacy of any Lucid owners whose cars might be there. Because Lucid’s Seaport location doesn’t have a service bay, local owners will be heading to Natick. In fact, the closest service centers are in New York and Canada, so the service center could draw people from afar to the mall.
From there, we went outside and looked at a handful of demos, some hooked up to Lucid charging stations. A sleek home charging station model is also in the showroom.
Lucid’s local team told me they’re selling cars daily. So expect to see more Lucid Airs on the roads—at least as their owners return to the swanky Seaport area—and maybe at local charging stations.