EV startup Lucid rolled the first “customer-quality” Air sedan off the line Tuesday during a “Preview Week” event at its new Arizona assembly plant.
The nascent automaker plans to deliver the first of its battery-electric vehicles to customers by late October, it said, a company statement noting that advance reservations for the Lucid Air sedan now “surpass 13,000.”
The Air model — which recently received an EPA estimated range rating of up to 520 miles per charge — will initially be offered in two high-trim Dream editions starting at just over $160,000. A base model, rated at 406 miles, is planned to follow in 2022 at a starting price of around $69,000.
“I’m delighted that production cars endowed with this level of efficiency are currently driving off our factory line,” said Peter Rawlinson, the longtime automotive engineer who serves as both the Lucid Group’s CEO and chief technology officer.
To celebrate the EPA rating of the Air Dream Range model, Lucid announced it will increase its production run to 520 vehicles. It didn’t reveal how many of its Dream Performance versions will be built. That variant’s range drops to a maximum 471 miles — but it boosts output from 933 horsepower to 1,111.
Starting from the ground up
The Air sedan is being assembled at a 590-acre site in Casa Grande, Arizona, about 50 miles from Phoenix. Lucid boasts the AMP-1 factory is the first ground-up greenfield EV plant in North America. Other facilities, such as the Tesla plant in Fremont, California, and General Motors’ Factory Zero in Detroit, started out producing vehicles using traditional internal combustion engines.
(However, a wave of new, ground-up plants is coming. Tesla is finishing up its second U.S. assembly line in Texas. And Ford on Monday announced an $11.4 billion project that includes an EV manufacturing complex in Tennessee, as well as two additional battery plants in Kentucky.)
Beyond delivering the longest range of any battery-electric vehicle on the market, the Air models are significantly more efficient than their competitors. On average, today’s BEVs typically deliver anywhere from 2.5 to around 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour. Tesla’s most efficient offering, the 402-mile Model S Long Range, gets to 4 miles per kWh. Lucid pushes that to 4.4 miles, also an industry record.
The company also plans to appeal to consumers with a mix of performance, cutting-edge infotainment technology and traditional luxury features.
More products to come
Looking forward, CEO Rawlinson previously told TheDetroitBureau.com Lucid will follow a model established by Tesla — where he previously served as chief engineer. While the Air sedan takes aim at the Tesla Model S, Lucid will follow with an SUV targeting the Model X. It then intends to move down-market, much as Tesla has done with its Models 3 and Y.
At a Preview Week event, Rawlinson hinted at what’s to follow, stating, “Our technology will allow for increasingly lighter, more efficient, and less expensive EVs, and today represents a major step in our journey to expand the accessibility of more sustainable transportation.”
In its statement, Lucid noted it plans to add another 2.85 million square feet to the AMP-1 factory that will not only allow it to expand production of the Air sedan but launch its first SUV, dubbed Gravity, by 2023.