Lucid Motors is in the process of building an assembly plant in Casa Grande, AZ, and while the facility is 70% finished right now, it would seem that there would be little reason to talk about it, except that it provides us with an excuse to run some pictures of the Lucid Air, the electric vehicle that will be produced in the plant.
Lucid Air coming late 2020. (Images: Lucid)
The Lucid Air is a sedan that will provide, according to company estimates, a range on the order of 400 miles, a top speed of in excess of 200 mph and a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds.
The company is in the process of building 80 beta prototypes, with the first one rolling out of the company’s Silicon Valley facility last November.
And it is proving out its battery technology by supplying battery packs, through its technology operation named Atieva, to the competitors in the Formula E racing series (obviously the batteries being used in the racing series have different characteristics than those that will be used in the production cars, but the know-how related to creating the packs, managing thermal loads and the development of battery management system software will go a long way to providing the consumer cars with the technology they need).
Lucid anticipates launching pre-production vehicles at its plant in early Q4 2020, then going into full production by the end of the year.
What Does This Mean?
The company is putting $300-million into the factory to get it up an running, so the Lucid Air is something that is likely to get built. In September 2018 the company executed a $1-billion investment agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, so there is real money involved.
The target cost for the luxury sedan is $60,000, so even without incentives it certainly is at a competitive number.
But what will be the demand for a car architecture when there is the Porsche Taycan ready for prime time (which, with the Model S, pretty much checks the box for EV sedans) and evident interest among the EV crowd for things like the Tesla Cybertruck?
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Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
Dan Nicholson is vice president of General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, the organization that had been “GM Powertrain” for 24 years.