Saudi-backed Tesla rival Lucid Motors says it has completed the first phase of construction at its new $US700 million electric car factory in Arizona, and is on track to begin production of the Lucid Air by the middle of 2021.
Based in California, headed by ex-Tesla engineer Peter Rawlinson, and more than half-owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Lucid Motors unveiled its much-anticipated Lucid Air in September.
Set to be priced between $US80,000 and $US160,000 depending on options, the Lucid Air will supposedly boast a longer range than the Tesla Model S, better aerodynamics than the Tesla Model 3, offer “Dream Drive” autonomous driving as well as vehicle-to-grid, two-way and super -fast charging capabilities.
Customers are waiting to see how many of those claims turn out to be true.
Lucid Motors announced on Tuesday the completion of construction on the first phase of its new Lucid AMP-1 (Advanced Manufacturing Plant) factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, as well as the commissioning of production equipment and processes underway ahead of the start of production for the Lucid Air in the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring of 2021.
Lucid expects to expand the site, witha new phase of construction to begin in early 2021, enabling future production of the brand’s first SUV under the name Project Gravity in 2023.
“We broke ground on the 590-acre Lucid AMP-1 site in Casa Grande, Arizona, on December 2, 2019, and slightly less than a year later we have completed the first purpose-built EV factory in North America,” said Rawlinson, the CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors.
“The effort and agility demonstrated by this team is truly astounding, as we’re already commissioning equipment compatible with the Lucid manufacturing system to start production of the next-generation EV, Lucid Air, in just a few months.”
Lucid Motors revealed that it had also built its full beta prototype test fleet and is now transitioning to the construction of a final series of production-representative versions of Lucid Air. Production was completed as part of the factory’s commissioning process which also tests the company’s production processes and “state-of-the-art” equipment.
“The Lucid manufacturing system embraces advanced processes such as an aircraft-inspired riveted and bonded monocoque body structure replacing spot welds, which endows Lucid Air with state-of-the-art structural efficiency,” the company explains.
Initial capacity for the factory is production of 30,000 units annually and will supply the North American market first. First out of the production line will be the Lucid Air Dream Editions, followed by the Grand Touring and Touring models. Lucid Air Pure will join the line-up in early 2022.
The Arizona factory was designed for planned expansions and future proofing, including a water-based paint shop designed with the necessary footprint and specialised infrastructure so that it can be expanded to meet the needs of all future phases of production.
The factory is designed with a total of four phases to be built through 2028, when square footage will reach 5.1 million square feet and will boast manufacturing capacity of up to 400,000 units per year.
“In building this factory, we adhered to several important manufacturing philosophies, including the tenets of ‘Future Ready’ and ‘On Time,’ together which have allowed us to effectively manage our investment and build a brand new factory from the ground up,” said Peter Hochholdinger, VP of Manufacturing, Lucid Motors.
“As we add new platforms and vehicles to our lineup, the planning that went into this facility ensures that we will always be able to keep up with growing customer demand for advanced electric vehicles.”