Electric carmaker Lucid Motors is reportedly taking a two-path approach to getting its 235 mph battery-powered supercar into production, seeking a new round of financing while also approaching Ford Motor Co. about a possible takeover.
The California-based start-up has said it needs to raise significantly more cash if it hopes to set up a $700 million assembly plant to put its exotic Lucid Air model into production. But Bloomberg news service is reporting Lucid also approached senior management at Ford about the opportunity for a sale.
Ford has promised to rapidly increase its commitment to electrify its line-up over the next few years, committing $4.5 billion through 2020. But, according to Bloomberg, the Detroit automaker shot down the proposed sale, at least for now, while new CEO Jim Hackett moves forward on a broad review of Ford’s goals and strategy.
A Ford spokesperson said the automaker doesn’t “comment on speculation.” Lucid representatives, meanwhile, did not respond to a request for comment on the news reports.
Lucid revealed its new electric supercar during the New York Auto Show last April, the company’s chief designer Derek Jenkins predicting it is part of “an absolute revolution on the horizon.”
Like the new Tesla Model 3, the Lucid Air uses a skateboard-like platform that mounts its batteries and drivetrain in the load floor. That frees up space traditionally used for a gasoline powertrain, letting the car provide a full-size cabin in a compact footprint.
(EV maker Lucid looks to challenge BMW, Mercedes. For more on the story, Click Here.)
Lucid said in April it would offer a 400 horsepower version, with a range of 200 miles, for $60,000. A 1,000 hp, 400-mile version, capable of reaching well over 200 mph, is expected to push well over $100,000.
During the New York show, Chief Technology Officer Peter Ralinson said Lucid – what some have called a “Tesla killer” – could be in production by 2018. But he also said, “We don’t have the money in place,” adding, “That is why we need a Series D (equity offering) to put this into production.”
The money would not only help finish development of the Lucid Air, but also pay for the new Arizona assembly plant.
Lucid is just one of several battery-car start-ups looking for funding. This past week, competitor Faraday Future announced it was pulling out of a project to build a $1 billion assembly plant in Nevada. Faraday has been facing a cash crunch due to the financial problems of its primary investor, Chinese tech billionaire Jia Yueting. That company insists it is moving forward on development of its own electric supercar, the FF91, however, and is now looking for an alternative production site.
(Click Here for more on Lucid’s Arizona plant plans.)
For its part, Lucid has hired Morgan Stanley to help move its fourth, Series D round of funding forward. The company has already raised about $100 million, much of it from Asian sources, though Venrock, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has also come aboard.
How far any talks with Ford went has not been revealed. Neither company immediately responded to TheDetroitBureau.com’s request.
Ford has been a strong proponent of electrification, offering a broad range of conventional hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, such as the Ford Focus Electric. Its plug-based models have not been selling well, however. Analysts say they don’t offer the range buyers expect in a market where Tesla has been setting a new benchmark. Its new Model 3 will get about 215 miles per charge, with one version of the more expensive Model S topping 300 miles.
Ford’s CEO Mark Fields committed to electrify 40% of the company’s line-up by 2020, at a cost of $4.5 billion, before he was ousted in May and replaced by Jim Hackett, the former CEO of Steelcase. Hackett is in the midst of a 100-day review which has reportedly put all new projects on hold at Ford.
(Lucid Air pushes price, range, performance in to the stratosphere. Click Here for the story.)
Having run some of the automaker’s more futuristic ventures before his promotion, Hackett is expected to retain Ford’s commitment to high technology, however. It is unclear whether that means he might be open to discussing a deal with Lucid at a later date.