PIF-backed Lucid Motors is delivering 300 EV units in April, to launch Air Pure later this year, CEO says
JEDDAH: US electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors delivered 360 cars to consumers in the first quarter of 2022. In contrast, the company sold 300 vehicles last month alone.
It’s an encouraging sign given that the electric vehicle maker began production last year and delivered its first car in October 2021.
“We are growing rapidly and the Arizona plant can expand production to 350,000 units per year by 2025,” Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson told Arab News.
Unit prices of Lucid range from $87,000 to $179,000, and it plans to launch an edition later this year named Air Pure priced at $87,000. Air Pure can cover over 400 miles on a single charge.
No one is even close to us. I think we are several years ahead of everyone.
“We define a luxury brand with a premium product, and when you look at what’s available on the market, it’s really good value,” he added.
By 2025, the company will accelerate its technology to reduce costs and energy consumption.
“The hurdle for EVs is the price of a vehicle. 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. use because they use less energy,” said Rawlinson.
“When we get to the middle of the decade, our mid-size rig will become available, and that’s when we can bring the price down to closer to $50,000 from current prices,” he added.
Go 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 lacked capital and the PIF supported it.
“We have a mindset here aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and that could extend beyond cars. It will certainly extend to stimulating the economy with a supply chain and infrastructure supporting manufacturing,” he said.
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 fresh capital.
“In theory, we can break even in a few years. The question is do you want to do this? Rawlinson said on the sidelines of Lucid’s factory signing ceremony.
For Rawlinson, the best value for shareholders is to pursue rapid expansion, maximizing the return on share value for an investor, rather than responding to short-term demands to break even.
Lucid Motors on May 18 signed agreements to build a production plant in King Abdullah Economic City, in the western part of the Kingdom, with an annual capacity of 150,000 zero-emission electric vehicles.
With this agreement, Lucid is expected to receive up to $3.4 billion in funding 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 semi-knocked down kits from Lucid Airs of Arizona to KAEC, and we’re assembling those SKD kits here in Saudi Arabia,” Rawlinson said.
Production will start next year and a full assembly will be ready by 2025.
“And we will increase this volume until 2026 to reach 150,000 units per year as soon as possible, and that is the installed capacity of the plant that we are building,” he added.
Part of KAEC’s plant function will be to manufacture all-electric powertrains in-house, including batteries, motors, inverters and transmissions.
“We make the most advanced battery in the world, and we’re well known for it,” he said.
The strategy will be to send workers from Saudi Arabia to Arizona, where they will be trained to replicate the entire process in the Kingdom.
“It’s not just an assembly ground where we build cars together; the core technology is actually built in-house,” he added.
Besides Lucid, only Tesla builds its technology in-house, which Rawlinson says is the reason for 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 Tesla,” he said.
Rawlinson measures this on efficiency, because he thinks the right way to measure an EV technology is in miles per kilowatt-hour of efficiency, given the size and sector the car is in.
“No one is even close to us. I think we are several years ahead of everyone,” he said.