EV startup Lucid Motors is steadily moving forward. Last December, it unveiled its Lucid Air electric luxury sedan. In March, Bloomberg got to check out a couple of prototypes. A much more polished version of the Lucid Air was on display at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, and Wired took a test ride.
It’s a sleek and stylish machine, with Tesla-style flush-mounted door handles, narrow light bars, and rear seats that recline so far back that Wired’s Jack Stewart found himself gazing at the LA skyline through the glass roof. “The wood, leather, and felt that cover the interior are meant to invoke California’s Santa Cruz waves crashing over rocks,” Stewart writes.
Lucid promises a range of between 240 and 440 miles, depending on the battery pack, and a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds.
Lucid’s Chief Technology Officer, Peter Rawlinson, was the Chief Engineer behind Tesla’s Model S, and the company has a lot of other proven EV talent on staff. “I have the key brain power behind the Model S team with me today,” says Rawlinson. “We know how to do this, and that is the differentiator [between us and other EV startups].”
Lucid is building a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, and plans to play it slow and steady, starting off at a production rate of 20,000 cars per year, which it calculates will require $260 million in investment. “We’re taking a very pragmatic, almost humble approach to it,” Rawlinson says. “We’re not going in there all guns blazing, saying we’re going to spend a billion dollars on a factory. That’s madness.”
Rawlinson sees huge opportunity in China’s government-mandated transition to EVs. “We’re talking about a couple million EVs – I don’t know where they’re going to find them. I think we can sell 100,000 units a year of this car, with a 50/50 split between China and the rest of the world.”