Lucid Motors is the latest startup to promise a luxury electric car that’s made in the USA. After teasing its Tesla-fighting luxury sedan the company (formerly known as Atieva) announced plans for a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Groundbreaking will take place next year, with the goal of starting production in 2018, a Lucid blog post said. That’s a pretty ambitious schedule for a company that has never built a car before, and still needs to create a working factory from scratch. By 2022, Lucid expects to have over 2,000 full-time employees at the site.
The site selection process began over a year ago, Lucid said. The company considered “over 60 potential sites in 13 states,” and said there were several factors behind the choice of Arizona, including proximity to its Silicon Valley headquarters, a solid supply chain, and availability of a suitable site. While Nevada offered incentive packages to fellow startup Faraday Future for its car factory, and to Tesla for its battery “Gigafactory,” Lucid did not discuss receiving incentives from Arizona.
The Lucid factory will be overseen by Brian Barron, the company’s director of manufacturing. An 18-year veteran of BMW, he previously managed manufacturing at sites in both Germany and South Carolina.
Lucid’s first production model is expected to be a luxury sedan aimed at the Tesla Model S. CTO Peter Rawlinson (who previously worked for Tesla) has said the car will have 900 horsepower, and a range of 300 miles. Lucid’s powertrain technology has already proven capable in “Edna,” a Mercedes-Benz Metris van converted by the company into a test vehicle. It dusted a Model S, a Ferrari California T, and other high-end performance cars in a pair of videos released over the summer.
As Atieva, the company started out making control systems for battery packs used in other companies’ electric vehicles. It’s now reportedly linked to Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, who is connected to Faraday Future. Faraday recently suspended work on its own factory, jeopardizing plans to launch an electric car within the same time frame as Lucid.