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Forget Tesla — this electric car is world's first with Dolby Atmos sound

Lucid Air EV
(Image credit: Lucid Motors)

Have you ever been driving along when your favorite song comes on the stereo, so you crank up the volume only to be disappointed with flat or lackluster audio? If so, the news of Dolby Atmos audio coming to cars could be exactly what you want to hear. 

Lucid might not be a household name yet, but its Air electric sedan is not only looking to bring a luxury electric car to the market, it will also be the first car with Dolby Atmos audio inside it. The Air Grand Touring and Air Dream Edition models will both deliver Atmos-compatible sound through Lucid’s 21-speaker Surreal Sound system. 

Tuned with the famous Capitol Records Studio C design in mind, this comprehensive speaker setup will allow for directional audio from front, rear, side and above to provide the immersive surround sound Dolby Atmos is known for. Basically, when the perfect driving song comes along, you’d likely be in the perfect spot to enjoy it.

“Along the inner pillars of the vehicle, we very carefully place the overhead speakers to optimize the full upper surround area. The alignment with those upper speakers and the lower speakers is critical for creating that dimensional experience,” explained Derek Jenkins, senior vice president at Lucid Motors. 

And as the Lucid cars are all eclectic powered, you won’t have the rumble of an internal combustion engine to encroach upon the sound the speakers are kicking out. But the Air cars aren’t going to be slouces on the road either, as the Lucid Electric Advanced Platform (LEAP) can use up to three electric motors to deliver a total of 1,080 horsepower; that’s hypercar power and beats the Tesla Model S’ 1,020 horsepower. 

To keep drivers from running amok with all that power, the audio system will also handle driver alerts using the directional speakers. So if someone isn’t wearing a seat belt in the backseat for example, and thus out of the driver’s view, a chime will come from that part of the car. This means this Atmos speaker system isn't just for enjoying music while motoring.

Audio tech in cars has come a long way, with the likes of the Audi A1 sporting a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system. But Dolby Atmos support could be a significant step up. 

With a claimed range of 517 miles on a single charge, a plush luxury sedan interior and a large digital dashboard, the Lucid Air has a lot of EV and general tech in it. It also comes with DreamDrive, an advanced driver assistance system fueled by data from a suite of 32 sensors, from radar to ultrasonic scanning and LiDAR; expect a mix of autonomous driving features. 

All that car and audio tech doesn't come cheap, with the Lucid Air starting from $69,900. And if you want the Dolby Atmos speaker system then you need to be prepared to part with $131,500. 

However, the Lucid Air is shaping up to be a strong Tesla Model S rival. Lucid Motors is currently taking reservations for the Air models, but delivery intonation has yet to be announced. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.