Tesla Rival Lucid Motors Hosts an Official 'Ground-Building' Event for its New $1 Billion Arizona Factory

Tesla Rival Lucid Motors Hosts an Official 'Ground-Building' Event for its New $1 Billion Arizona Factory

Author: Eric Walz   

California-based electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors has officially broke ground on its new Arizona factory where it will build its flagship Lucid Air electric sedan. Representatives of Lucid Motors, together with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the Arizona Commerce Authority, and local officials, marked the start of construction in Casa Grande, AZ.  

Unlike a traditional groundbreaking event to commemorate the start of construction, Lucid Motors billed the event as a "ground-building" ceremony, as a testament to its commitment to the local region, the company said. 

Lucid's long-term commitment to the region includes plans for continuous growth and future products, as well as providing high-tech jobs to the region.

Arizona's governor has been a champion in bringing in new high tech companies to the state, welcoming in new businesses with tax breaks and other incentives. Lucid said it chose the Casa Grande, Arizona, location for its factory after an extensive search across 13 U.S. states and more than 60 sites. 

Lucid Motors said it chose Arizona based upon numerous positive factors, including the favorable business climate, infrastructure, talent, geographic location, and the automotive supply chain in the Arizona-Sonora region.

"Attracting a high-tech automotive manufacturer like Lucid Motors to Arizona is a testament to the talent, business environment, and geographic location our state has to offer innovative companies to help them succeed," said Governor Ducey. "I congratulate Lucid Motors, Casa Grande, and Pinal County on achieving this milestone and look forward to seeing the first vehicles roll off the production line."

Lucid Motors is among a handful of new luxury-focused EV startups looking follow in Tesla's footsteps. The company's CEO, Peter Rawlinson, who also serves as the company's CTO, worked at Tesla under Elon Musk serving as chief engineer on the Model S. He joined Lucid in 2013.

In July, Lucid Motors announced that it hired former Tesla vice president of manufacturing Peter Hochholdinger to serve as vice president of vehicle manufacturing. Prior to working at Tesla, Hochholdinger spent 24 years at Audi, where he rose to senior director of production for the Audi A4, A5, and Q5. Hochholdinger will lead Lucid's global manufacturing operations at the Arizona factory.

The first phase of factory construction includes an investment of over $300 million and is scheduled for completion in late 2020.

Lucid expects that the Arizona factory will create approximately 4,800 direct and indirect jobs over the next decade. Lucid plans to make $700 million more in capital investments by the mid-2020s. Lucid is also establishing training programs and new curriculums at local community colleges to help train the high-tech workforce needed to run the facility.

"Not only will Lucid bring thousands of good paying jobs to the area, but it also anchors our efforts to attract additional high-tech businesses to the region and develop a highly skilled workforce for advanced manufacturing." said said Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland. 

Lucid's first car is the ultra-luxurious fully-electric Air sedan. The state-of-the-art sedan, features a California-inspired design combined with cutting-edge technology. The Air will be capable of over 400 miles range and can reach 0-60 mph in under 2.5 seconds, producing over 1,000 horsepower from its electric powertrain.

"The Lucid Air is a cutting-edge electric vehicle designed, engineered, and destined for manufacture entirely in America," said Rawlinson, in a statement. "We are proud to be moving forward on our commitment to manufacturing the Lucid Air in Casa Grande. With supportive investors, an outstanding team of designers and engineers, and a product strategy that extends well beyond the Air, we expect today to be just the start of a longstanding presence in this dynamic city."

Lucid Motors is backed by a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, one of the world's largest wealth funds with over $320 billion in assets.

Production of the Lucid Air is scheduled to begin in late 2020 after the first phase of construction is completed.

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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