Best Car Design 2020: Lucid Air by Derick Jenkins Tell a friend


NEWARK, CALIFORNIA (DECEMBER 22, 2020)—“In a word: Bold. The new battery-electric Lucid Air is an aesthetic shotgun approach to vehicle design that will clearly transform, if not revolutionize the transportation industry in the future,” states Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, architecture critic and chief curator of The Chicago Athenaeum’s Good Design®.

“Designed for Lucid Motors by former Audi-Volkswagen designer Derick Jenkins, the new luxury sedan is sleek and elegant, sculpted like a streamlined aircraft, while its futuristic details exit in a very clean and orderly approach, something more relatable, clearly future-focused, but still enduringly smart and sophisticated.”
“What’s more, the new electric car, unofficially dubbed ‘killer Tesla,’ is also giving Tesla a run for the money in terms of pricing, technology, and performance.”
“The California-based startup Lucid Motors is a game-changing electric vehicle in the near future, standing out from the fold with proven performance and a new vision developed by industry veterans, skilled designers and, crucially, all the financing in the world,” Narkiewicz-Laine continues.
“Jenkin’s amazing muscular design for Lucid Air is a stunning break-through vehicle from the otherwise dull, monotonous American car industry as we know it.”
Lucid Air was awarded a Good Design Award for 2020 by The Chicago Athenaeum.
For Lucid Air, Jenkins drew his inspiration from classic high-style, European sports car designs of Bertone, Pininfarina, Giugiaro, Italdesign, but aesthetically different.
“I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s," states Jenkins.
"So, all the cars that I appreciate—that I kind of obsess about—are from that time period. “
“I’m a huge fan of, obviously, the first Countach and Lotus Esprit, Porsche 911 and Porsche 928—these kind of Italian and German-derived cars.”
On the Jenkins-designed exterior, the sedan has a relatively long wheelbase and the cabin is stretched out much farther than other cars in that class. As a result, the design has a fairly short hood with a very short trunk.
“We really approached it like the components are miniaturized, we pushed them away from the occupants, maximized interior space,” explains Jenkins.
“That became an immediate opportunity. And then keeping the outside compact, agile, and sporty so it’s still like a sport sedan on the outside, full-sized luxury on the inside, with hypercar performance—and the cargo capacity of an SUV.”
“So, you have this really unique combination of attributes that doesn’t exist in the marketplace today.”
“From that point, he continued,” he continues, “we really focused, on building this brand around those attributes, building a core DNA to the brand. And then that, of course, leads to actually designing the car and building an aesthetic.”
And this hypercar performs like no other: the top-spec Air will have over 1,000 horsepower, all-wheel drive, a minuscule 0.21 coefficient of drag, and that it can achieve a top speed of over 200 miles per hour in production form. All with an estimated industry-best range of 517 miles.
Jenkins began his career working as a designer at Audi in the early-1990s. After a few years in Germany, he moved to Audi’s Los Angeles-based studio, then switched over to parent conglomerate Volkswagen AG in the early-2000s. After working on notable projects like the second-gen Audi A8 and VW’s Scirocco and Microbus concepts, Jenkins left VAG to join Mazda’s North American Advanced Design Group in Irvine, California.
Production of Lucid Air has started this month in Casa Grande, Arizona, with deliveries scheduled to start in early 2021.