Electric car maker Lucid Motors has completed the initial stages of its $ 700 million plant. This is a milestone needed to begin production of its first all-electric luxury air sedan in the spring.
The plant, located about halfway between Tucson and Phoenix on Interstate 10, has an annual capacity of 30,000 vehicles. If Lucid, led by CEO Peter Rawlinson, manages to attract buyers, this factory will expand from its current 999,000 square feet to more than 5 million square feet. Once fully expanded, the plant will be able to build 400,000 vehicles a year.
It's an ambitious plan for a company that isn't yet to deliver a single vehicle. Still, Rawlinson has remained optimistic about electric vehicles and Lucid's future. Lucid is already preparing to continue building the next phase of the plant early next year, which will produce the next vehicle, an all-electric SUV, in 2023.
The company plans to expand the factory, which is located on 590 acres, in four phases by 2028.
The first phase will complete approximately four years since Lucid Motors first announced its intention to manufacture electric vehicles. This is a milestone that has almost not been reached. As the company burned capital, it made efforts to find new investors. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was finally increased in September 2018 and committed to investing $ 1 billion in the company.
The fully electric luxury Air sedan, which was presented in September, has a range of up to 517 miles, depending on the variant, and a design that focuses on technology and restrained luxury.
Two of the four variants – the flagship Dream Edition valued at $ 169,000 and a Grand Touring model valued at $ 139,000 – will go into production at the new factory for the first time this year. The delivery of these variants is to begin in spring 2021. Two other variants, a touring model priced at $ 95,000 and a base model priced below $ 80,000, are expected in late 2021 and 2022, respectively. (All prices are pre-tax credit of $ 7,500.)
The Air should be the electric alternative to the Mercedes Benz S-Class. That said, performance is just as important as design. and it comes with some stunning performance specs. For example, the Dream Edition offers 1,080 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. Because of its performance, the Dream Edition has a range of 465 miles. The Grand Touring now has 800 hp and can achieve the same acceleration in 3 seconds, but has the highest range of 517 miles.
The Air will also be equipped with 32 sensors, a driver monitoring system and an Ethernet-based architecture for its advanced driver assistance system, which supports hands-free calling on motorways. Inside, a 5-inch display made of curved 34-inch glass sits in front of the driver and appears to float above the dashboard. Another central touchscreen can be retracted and offers more storage space. In the meantime, some physical controls remain on the steering wheel and just above the center screen to control the volume and activate ADAS and Amazon Alexa, which are built into the vehicle. Below the middle touchscreen there is a place for inductive charging, a cup holder and USB-C ports as well as additional storage space.
To achieve all of this, Lucid praised its design approach as well as its advanced manufacturing process. According to Lucid, riveted and glued monocoque body structures are used instead of spot welds. Most modern vehicles today have a unibody design, which means that the frame, floor and chassis are made up of a single structure. A monocoque design is typically seen in motorsport, with the frame acting as a skin that gets its strength from distributing tension and compression.