PIF-backed Lucid Motors completes construction of first phase of its Arizona factory

US electric vehicle start-up to build its Lucid Air sedan in early 2021 followed by production of its first SUV in 2023

California-based electric vehicle start-up Lucid Motors said it has finished construction of the first phase of its Arizona plant.

The factory will begin producing its Air sedan in early 2021, Lucid Motors said on Sunday.

The company is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Work on the 238-hectare Lucid AMP-1 factory's next phase of expansion is expected to start early next year, allowing the company to build its first SUV in 2023.

This is the first purpose-built EV factory in North America, according to the company.

"We’re already commissioning equipment compatible with the Lucid manufacturing system to start production of the next-generation EV, the Lucid Air, in just a few months," Peter Rawlinson, chief executive of Lucid Motors, said.

Lucid was founded in 2007 under the name Atieva and was initially focused on building EV batteries. In 2016, it rebranded as Lucid Motors, moved away from being a supplier and pivoted towards making a luxury sedan to rival Tesla. In 2018, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF invested more than $1 billion in Lucid for a majority stake in the company and to help accelerate the manufacturing of its first EV.

The Arizona plant will initially have an annual capacity of 30,000 vehicles to supply global markets, starting with North America, according to the statement.

Customer-ordered production cars will start coming off the Arizona line in the spring of 2021.

These will initially consist of Lucid Air Dream Editions, followed by Grand Touring and Touring models. The Lucid Air Pure joins the line-up in early 2022, starting from $69,900.

By 2028, the plant will undergo four expansion phases, taking its annual production capacity to about 400,000 cars.

“As we add new platforms and vehicles to our line-up, the planning that went into this facility ensures that we will always be able to keep up with growing customer demand for advanced electric vehicles," Peter Hochholdinger, vice president of manufacturing at Lucid Motors, said.

The company plans to enter the Middle East market in 2022, Mr Rawlinson told The National in September.

Lucid plans a phased global expansion with Saudi Arabia – the Arab world’s largest economy – being its first entry point into the Middle East, he said. The car maker is also considering opening a production facility in Saudi Arabia.