Former Tesla VP of Production Joins Rival Electric Automaker Lucid Motors

Former Tesla VP of Production Joins Rival Electric Automaker Lucid Motors

Author: Eric Walz   

Just a week ago, Tesla's vice president of manufacturing Peter Hochholdinger left his role at the electric automaker. Hochholdinger previously worked for German automaker Audi and worked at Tesla for the past three years overseeing the production of the Model 3, Tesla's first mass-market car.

On Monday, Tesla rival Lucid Motors, also based in California, announced today that it hired Hochholdinger to serve as vice president of vehicle manufacturing. Hochholdinger will lead Lucid's global manufacturing operations, commencing with Lucid's plant in Casa Grande, Arizona, as well as manufacturing engineering.

"It is with great pleasure that I join Lucid at such an exciting time in the company's history," said Hochholdinger. "I look forward to working with the world-class team to deliver Lucid's incredible luxury electric vehicles in production."

Prior to Tesla, Hochholdinger spent 24 years with Audi, where he rose to Senior Director of Production for Audi A4, A5, and Q5, overseeing the assembly of over 400,000 cars annually.

Hochholdinger is the latest top executive to leave Tesla. His departure from Tesla to join Lucid Motors comes at a critical time for Tesla, as the automaker is working to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan.

In April, Lucid announced that CTO Peter Rawlinson was taking over as CEO. Rawlinson joined Lucid in 2013 after also working at Tesla, where he served as Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and Chief Engineer of the Tesla Model S, working directly under Elon Musk.

"We are delighted to welcome Peter to the Lucid team," said Rawlinson. "Peter's extensive experience and proven leadership in premium-vehicle manufacturing will prove invaluable as we continue our progress towards the launch of Lucid Air and future models. In joining Lucid, Peter is empowered to create an industry-leading manufacturing process that will deliver the quality products our discerning customers demand and deserve."

 Lucid is among a handful of new electric vehicle startups looking to compete with Tesla. The company was founded in 2007 as Atieva by Sam Weng and Bernard Tse, a former vice president of Tesla.  

Last year, Lucid received more than a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), The PIF is also an major investor in ride-hailing giant Uber.

Lucid Motors positions itself as being less of a direct competitor to Tesla than with luxury car makers such as Audi or BMW, Rawlinson had said previously. The company's first electric car is the ultra-luxurious Lucid Air sedan.

The Lucid Air made its public debut at the New York International Auto Show in April 2017. Lucid says the car is smaller than a Tesla Model S, but offers as much interior space as a large Mercedes S-class sedan. The Air features a panoramic glass roof and a luxury interior inspired by executive jets with reclining rear seats. Lucid says the Air will also come with hardware to support autonomous driving.

Rawlinson added that Hochholdinger's experience in manufacturing will help the company in launching the Lucid Air and other future models.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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