Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley-based startup that aims to launch its first vehicle—the Air luxury electric car—next year, has hired Eugene Lee as senior director of ADAS and autonomous driving systems.
With a clear focus on another California carmaker, Lucid is counting on Lee and a growing list of other industry veterans to help it break into the auto industry.
Lucid is led by Peter Rawlinson, who was named CEO last year. He joined Lucid as CTO in 2013 after stints with Tesla (he was chief engineer for the Model S), Lotus and Jaguar.
Robinson’s direct reports all have serious automotive bona fides. Not surprisingly, several also are Tesla alums—who these days are spreading like wildfire throughout the industry (but that’s another story).
Lucid’s leadership team (and their past experience) includes:
- Peter Hochholdinger, manufacturing vp (Tesla, Audi)
- Derek Jenkins, design vp (Mazda, VW, Audi)
- Eric Bach, hardware engineering vp (VW, Tesla)
- Peter Hasenkamp, supply chain vp (VW, Tesla, Ford)
- Louise Zhang, engineering senior director (Tesla, Delphi)
- Doreen Allen, sales director (Tesla)
Meet Dr. Robot
Eugene Lee (Image: Lucid Motors)
Lee, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as well as a post-doctorate degree from Cornell University, brings impressive credentials to Lucid.
They include (per his LinkedIn profile):
- Heading Hyundai’s autonomous vehicle development center. At Hyundai, Lee is credited with launching more than 70 advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and developing a 10-year roadmap for ADAS and fully autonomous vehicles.
- 11 years at General Motors, where he helped develop technologies for the carmaker’s Super Cruise system (including lane centering, lateral collision prevention and map-based adaptive cruise control technologies).
- More than 50 patents and dozens of published technical papers.
Lee’s expertise “strengthens our ability to launch the Lucid Air as the most technologically advanced car, with competitive ADAS and AD capabilities supported by future over-the-air upgrades," Rawlinson says.
Lucid plans to unveil the production version of the Air at the New York auto show in April. Pilot production is due to start by year-end at a $700 million facility the company is building in Arizona.
Specifications and other tech details about the Air will be announced in New York. But Lucid previously has said the car will have a 400-mile range and a top speed of more than 200 mph.
In addition to the Air, Lucid is said to have several other EVs in the works and aims to eventually produce 130,000 vehicles per year.
To help fund the ambitious plans, Lucid secured more than $1 billion in 2018 from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment. And it’s clear the company is willing to invest in top talent to get the job done—something it will have to continue to do to hit its goals, let alone have any chance of giving Tesla a run for its money.
While at the Tokyo Motor Show this week various vehicle manufacturers were showing off all manner of cars and crossovers and transportation devices that typically had to do with something autonomous, connected and/or electrified (ACE, as CAR’s Brett Smith categorizes this burgeoning field), the guys from Chevy were in El Segundo, California, showing off a different take on what can best be described as “toys for boys”—boys who do or don’t have driver’s licenses.
While there is a burgeoning proliferation of companies that are in the LiDAR space, each with its own take on utilizing laser pulses to create a precise map of its surroundings for purposes of ADAS or full-blown automation, a Seattle-based company has a distinction that certainly sets it apart from its competitors.
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., said at CES today that his goal is to transform Toyota from being a car company to becoming a mobility company.