Electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors said it has started production of its consumer electric cars and will deliver its $169,000 limited production saloon car, Lucid Air Dream Edition, by the end of October.
The California-based company, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, plans to follow this with the delivery of three other models – Air Pure ($77,400), Air Touring ($95,000) and Air Grand Touring ($139,000), it said without disclosing the exact timeline.
"The proprietary EV technology that Lucid has developed will make it possible to travel more miles using less battery energy,” Peter Rawlinson, chief executive and chief technology officer of the company, said.
“Our technology will allow for increasingly lighter, more efficient and less expensive EVs … I am delighted that production cars endowed with this level of efficiency are currently driving off our factory line," said Mr Rawlinson, who is the former vice president and chief engineer for Model S at Tesla.
Lucid was founded in 2007 under the name Atieva and was initially focused on building EV batteries. In 2016, it rebranded as Lucid Motors and turned around its strategy to build luxury EV saloon to rival Tesla. In 2018, the PIF invested more than $1 billion in Lucid to acquire a substantial stake, helping it to accelerate its manufacturing plans.
The company also became the first EV start-up to go public through a special purpose acquisition company after it merged with a blank-cheque company backed by Wall Street dealmaker Michael Klein in July.
Lucid plans to produce only 520 of the Dream Edition models, which are capable of running up to 837 kilometres on a single charge.
This exclusive design is fully booked, but the company still invites customers to get on the wait-list when they book another model.
“Just opt in while reserving and if a spot becomes available, a member of our sales team will reach out,” the company said on its website.
Overall, Lucid Motors has received more than 13,000 reservations for its Air models, it added.
Lucid is also expected to benefit from the wave of investment flowing into EV companies as countries toughen rules on emissions and work towards their net-zero targets.
The company said it has started the expansion of its Arizona factory and plans to add 265,000 square metres to increase its manufacturing capability.
Its Arizona complex is expected to bring a projected economic output of $9bn to the US state in the next three years and will create 15,000 jobs annually by 2024, the company said.
The car maker is also considering opening a production unit in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy.
“Lucid plans to take preliminary steps in the second half of 2021 towards establishing manufacturing operations in Saudi Arabia, however, no specific plans have been announced as yet,” the company told The National in an emailed statement.
The company’s near-term priority is commercial production of the Lucid Air planned for this year at its Casa Grande, Arizona-based factory, it added.
“Lucid’s Arizona facility serves as a blueprint for a future global manufacturing footprint, as part of our plan to develop facilities across multiple geographies over time,” the company said.