Lucid Motors, a start-up automaker, has unseated Tesla, the dominant maker of electric cars, as the producer of the electric vehicle that can travel farthest on a single charge.
Lucid’s top-of-the-line Air Dream Edition Range can drive 520 miles on a full battery, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday, beating by more than 100 miles the Tesla Model S Long Range, previously the car that could go the furthest on a charge.
How far electric cars can travel before they have to be plugged in — a metric known as their range — is important because the infrastructure for charging the vehicles is in its infancy, and filling up a battery can take hours depending on the car and charger.
President Biden and other world leaders want people to switch to electric vehicles to fight climate change. But that is unlikely to happen until the auto industry eases the fears that drivers will be left stranded with no plug in sight or will have to wait hours for their cars to refuel.
Until there are more fast-charging stations, automakers are trying to come up with electric cars that can go longer distances on a full battery. Tesla, which makes about two-thirds of electric vehicles sold in the United States, has long won that contest, producing several cars that can travel more than 300 miles without recharging. Many automakers have struggled to hit that threshold or go much beyond it.
Lucid and its chief executive, Peter Rawlinson, a former Tesla engineer, have said for months that their cars will go further than Teslas because they are more aerodynamic and use smaller, more efficient motors and other components. The E.P.A. provided official confirmation of those claims.
“Crucially, this landmark has been achieved by Lucid’s world-leading in-house E.V. technology, not by simply installing an oversize battery pack,” Mr. Rawlinson said in a statement.
Tesla is expected to soon face much more competition, including from Lucid and from Rivian, another start-up that is expected to begin delivering electric pickup trucks to customers this month. Traditional automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen are also accelerating their efforts. Ford Motor is planning to sell an electric version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in the United States, next spring.
But Lucid’s cars will occupy a luxurious niche in the market. The Air Dream Edition starts at $169,000 before federal and state incentives, though the company has said it will eventually offer more affordable versions of the Air, including one that will sell for about $77,000. The company is also working on a sport-utility vehicle.