The electric car start-up Lucid Motors is planning a battery-electric SUV based on the platform of its first model, the electric sedan Air. As CEO Peter Rawlinson explained, a prototype already exists.
Rawlinson told Green Car Reports that production of the Lucid SUV should start in early 2023. “And that is really, really important because we need economies of scale to grow the business,” Rawlinson said. As soon as these economies of scale are achieved, the company also wants to focus on significantly cheaper vehicles.
Lucid Motors, headquartered in California, is currently building its first own plant in Casa Grande, Arizona. Over 300 million dollars are being invested in the first phase of factory construction scheduled for completion at the end of 2020. The Air is then to be built there. Lucid plans to present the electric sedan on 9 September, with deliveries scheduled to start in early 2021. The first vehicles are scheduled to arrive in Europe at the end of 2021.
Rawlinson said in the interview that the construction work in Casa Grande is almost complete and the first batch of so-called “Beta 2” cars can begin – i.e. very close to series production. “It will have been eight months from ‘a piece of dirt’ to cars coming off the pilot line,” Rawlinson said.
While the plant will build only the Air in the first phase, the CEO says it will be expanded in the second phase to produce the SUV. Both models should then be able to be assembled on a common line. Both vehicles are to be of roughly the same length and are likely to share many components, particularly in terms of the drive system.
In principle, the plant has been designed from the outset to be suitable for future models. “We looked at a whole range of products we may want to make and we designed the paint shop from scratch to accommodate that,” said Rawlinson. This also applies to the body shop and assembly – “for the next seven or eight years.”
Rawlinson refers to the paint shop here: the length of the body is more important here than in the final assembly, for example. Despite the fact that the sedan and the SUV will be of similar length, he says, “But if we want to make a longer vehicle like a pickup or something like that, which we may want to make in the future, the paint shop is future-proof for pickups.” When asked, Lucid’s CEO explained that a pickup truck is conceivable, but not currently planned.
Rawlinson became more specific at another point, however: He ruled out the possibility of producing electric vehicles for other companies. “No, absolutely not”, said Rawlinson. “I know that Lucid has the best technology “I want to make the best technology benefit to all mankind. Why would I make anyone else’s vehicle?” With this sentiment, it is clear that Lucid is pursuing a different strategy than, say, Startup Rivian, which wants to build cars from other manufacturers on its platform in addition to its own R1S and R1T models.
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