New Threat to Tesla Touts Half the Production Output


Founded nearly ten years ago, Menlo Park-based Lucid Auto recently unveiled their first drivable prototype at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And while the electric car’s next-gen design warrants plenty of attention, what’s really making it stand out is their relatively modest sales projections.

Lucid is still putting the finishing touches on its manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, Arizona, where it plans to make about 20,000 of its Air vehicles annually.

There’s no talk of production hell. Rather, the company hopes to raise enough capital to gradually increase production to 50,000 and then possibly 130,000 cars annually.

So even at its peak, Lucid’s production levels would be half of what Elon Musk touted this summer for Tesla. These more realistic goals have many industry insiders feeling optimistic about Lucid’s chances of being a true, long-term presence in the vehicle market and a unique competitor for Tesla.

But it all starts with the car. The company cites a 0 to 60 time of 2.5 seconds thanks to 400 horsepower and the ability to hit a top speed of 155 mph. The proprietary battery pack offers a charging range of up to 400 miles.

Then there’s the styling. The Air features a glass roof for passengers in the back seat, three touchscreens and a cabin design that combines the luxury of a limo with the footprint of a midsize. This design allows for rear executive seats with up to 55 degrees of recline.

All those features are great, but here’s what could set Lucid apart from others that have tried and failed with an electric vehicle start-up.

First, the company’s CTO is Peter Rawlinson. All he did was lead the design team for Tesla’s Model S.

Second, manageable production goals could help prevent Tesla-like losses in the billions and ensure continued product development.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, Lucid wants half of its sales to come from China, where government regulators are looking to expand electric vehicle mandates.

The company is currently taking vehicle orders on its site, with production scheduled to begin in 2019. Standard vehicle pricing will start at $52,500.

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