Ultra-luxury electric car startup Lucid Motors is raising capital to fund development on a planned $700 million electric vehicle factory in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The company spoke with The Motley Fool about its latest Series D round of funding.
“The manufacturing facility will have three phases, the first of which is expected to cost $240 million. That should allow the company to ramp up to producing about 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles per year, with production commencing in 2019. Only after all three stages are completed (expected around 2022 if all goes well) will the total investment reach $700 million. At that point, the factory should have annual production capacity of 130,000 vehicles.”
The proposed plan for Lucid’s Case Grande factory is to build it in three phases. The goal for the $240 million first phase is to produce roughly 8,000 to 10,000 Lucid Air per year beginning in 2019, followed by additional investments in the years to come until a production goal of 130,000 vehicles per year is reached, around 2022.
Though Lucid’s initial production targets are modest by comparison to Tesla which produced over 90,000 vehicles last year, the numbers reflect an upbeat early production and growth target similar to one Tesla originally started with. Building an electric car or any car for that matter is no easy task especially for a newcomer. Lucid has an advantage in that consumer acceptance of premium all-electric vehicles is already here. There’s wide acceptance that a premium Tesla Model S and Model X is tech-laden and comes with a hefty price point. However, add to that a lower base price that undercuts the Tesla Model S by just over $10,000 before incentives and Lucid’s angle on the market is clear.
The Air will be powered by high performance lithium ion battery cells built in partnership with Samsung SDI. Lucid Chief Technology Officer shared with The Motley Fool, “The cell chemistry that we’ve co-developed with Samsung is groundbreaking in that it is very tolerant to repeated, cyclic fast-charging.”
Lucid Motors has a strategic partnership with ex-Tesla Autopilot partner Mobileye which will supply some of the autonomous driving technology built on a foundation of LiDAR, radar sensors and cameras. Instead of implementing an obtrusive roof mounted LiDAR sensor, Lucid is planning to utilize peripheral LiDAR sensors that are embedded into the sides of the vehicle. It’s the same type of sensors that were recently spotted on the Tesla Model S seen testing with LiDAR sensors near Tesla’s Silicon Valley-based headquarters.
Rawlinson also made it clear that the Air is not just another Tesla look alike: “there’s a tendency to frame Lucid as a ‘Tesla killer,’ but such comparisons miss the point. This car isn’t a Model S competitor; it’s the next step forward. I certainly don’t see it as a ‘Tesla killer’.”