PIF-backed Lucid Motors CEO says it will deliver 300 EV units in April, for the Air Pure launch later this year
JEDDAH: US-based electric car maker Lucid Motors delivered 360 cars to consumers during the first quarter of 2022. In contrast, the company sold 300 cars in the last month alone.
It’s an encouraging sign considering that the electric vehicle manufacturer started production last year and delivered its first car in October 2021.
“We’re growing fast, and the Arizona plant could expand production to 350,000 units a year by 2025,” Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson told Arab News.
Lucid units range in price from $87,000 to $179,000, and it plans to release a version later this year called the Air Pure priced at $87,000. The Air Pure can cover more than 400 miles on a single charge.
Nobody is even close to us. I think we are several years ahead of everyone else.
“We define a luxury brand with a high-end product, and when you look at what’s available in the market, that’s a very good value,” he added.
By 2025, the company will accelerate its technology to reduce cost and energy consumption.
“The hurdle for electric cars is car prices. We can use our technological advantage to make cars that go further with fewer batteries, which means we can make cars more affordable to buy and run because they use less energy,” Rawlinson said.
“When we move into the middle of the decade, our mid-size platform will be available, at which point we can bring the price down to close to $50,000 at today’s prices,” he added.
Embark on an Arabian safari
The company partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2018, which Rawlinson described as a turning point for Lucid Motors. The company was short of capital, and the Public Investment Fund supported it.
“We have a fit of mindset here with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and this can extend beyond automobiles. Certainly, it will extend to stimulating the economy through the supply chain and infrastructure that supports manufacturing.
The EV startup went public in July last year. Its shares began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, where it raised $4.5 billion in new capital.
“Theoretically, we could break even within a few years. The question is do you want to do it?” Rawlinson said on the sidelines of the Lucid Factory signing ceremony.
For Rawlinson, the best shareholder value is to continue to expand rapidly, maximizing the investor’s return on equity value, rather than meeting the short time requirement to break even.
Lucid Motors signed agreements on May 18 to build a production plant in King Abdullah Economic City, the western part of the Kingdom, with an annual production capacity of 150,000 zero-emission electric cars.
Through this transaction, Lucid is expected to receive up to $3.4 billion in financing and incentives over the next 15 years to build and operate the manufacturing facility in the Kingdom.
Production plans in the Kingdom
“We’ll be shipping Lucid Airs semi-loose kits from Arizona to KAEC, and assemble SKD kits here in Saudi Arabia,” Rawlinson said.
Production will begin next year, and complete assembly will be ready by 2025.
He added, “And we will increase this volume until 2026 to reach 150,000 units per year as soon as possible, and this is the installed capacity of the plant that we are building.”
Part of the plant’s job in King Abdullah Economic City will manufacture all-electric powertrains in-house, including battery packs, motors, inverters and transmissions.
“We manufacture the most advanced battery pack globally, and we are well known for that,” he said.
The strategy will include sending workers from Saudi Arabia to Arizona, where they will be trained to replicate the entire process in the kingdom.
“This is not just a plot of land where we build cars together; the core technology is actually built in-house.”
Besides Lucid, only Tesla is building its technology in-house, which Rawlinson believes is the reason behind Tesla’s success.
“I think they’re four to five years ahead of everyone else, but today if you look at our technology, we’re probably about three years ahead of what Tesla is,” he said.
Rawlinson measures this on efficiency, as he believes the correct way to measure EV technology is efficiency in miles per kilowatt-hour, given the size and segment the vehicle is in.
“No one is even close to us. I think we are several years ahead of everyone else.