The EV wars just broke out into the open on national television.
In case you hadn’t heard, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live May 8. The billionaire cryptocurrency peddler and electric car boundary pusher has riled up some big reactions online among SNL fans and his own fans alike—so, whatever you think of Musk’s appearance on the weekly live sketch comedy show, we can all appreciate the unexpected adversarial advertising that broke out during the episode. We’re talking, of course, about Lucid Motors‘ sharply timed ad for the upcoming Air luxury EV—the 500-mile sedan it is hoping can take down Tesla’s Model S.
Lucid must have figured viewership for SNL would be high, given all the buzz surrounding the Tesla CEO’s appearance on it. (Aided by Musk himself, who tweeted out this week in the run-up to the show invitations for sketch ideas, as well as other musings about SNL.) So it trained its advertising dollars for its Tesla competitor on one of the first 30-second spots following Musk’s opening monologue introducing the SNL episode.
The ad, titled “Introducing Future,” depicts the new Air sedan and its $69,900 price. It isn’t new—it has existed on Lucid Motors’ YouTube page for four months—but it’ll surely be new to most regular TV viewers. While we’ve yet to evaluate a Lucid Air for ourselves, its stats stack up favorably against the Tesla Model S, from its slippery shape (lower drag) to its more spacious interior to its headline-stealing 500-mile range per charge. Tesla only just reached the 400-mile mark, although its figure is EPA-verified … and a new Model S Plaid model is said to deliver 520 miles of range.
In any event, clearly having Tesla’s figurehead on SNL has placed a giant target on the evening’s advertising slots—in some markets, Volkswagen also ran an ad for the ID.4 EV crossover.