Lucid Motors' Shortcomings Reveal Just How Difficult Entering the Automotive Segment is

Several months after revealing the affordably priced Air, Lucid Motors has run into a major problem and is now missing the cash to continue pursuing its lofty goals.

Vineeth Joel Patel
    Jul 18, 2017 10:09 AM  PT
Lucid Motors' Shortcomings Reveal Just How Difficult Entering the Automotive Segment is
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Lucid Motors, a California-based electric-vehicle startup with lofty goals to release a 1,000-horsepower electric car, which would be built in a $700-million factory in Casa Grande, Ariz., by 2018 took major steps forward last April. The startup revealed its reasonably priced Air at $60,000 before incentives. But instead of having an insane 1,000 horsepower, the base model is more reasonable. 

The entry-level Air makes 400 horsepower and will have a range of 240 miles, which puts it as a direct competitor to Tesla's base Model S 75. Lucid Motors' Air seems like an incredible machine from a startup that came out of nowhere. But what else could one expect from a team that's predominantly made up of ex-Tesla employees? 

Short On Money, Plenty Of Talent

While the vehicle, and Lucid Motors, showed a lot of promise, things have taken a turn for the worse, as a report by Automotive News claims that the startup is missing the cash it needs to meet its current timeline of having its electric luxury sedan on the road by 2018. According to the report, Lucid Motors is waiting to secure its next series of financing before it begins building the massive plant in Arizona. After breaking ground on the factory, the plan is to debut a production-ready version of the car in 2019. 

"We don't have the money in place," said Peter Rawlinson, Lucid Motors' chief technology officer at the New York Auto Show. "That's why we need to secure Series D in order to execute this. It would be irresponsible to start moving earth or start anything until we have a financial runaway to execute that professionally and with absolute integrity." 

According to Rawlinson, it will take 24 months for production to begin once funding is in place. That timeline is a little different from the one the company put out earlier, which claimed it would begin building its factory in the first half of 2017 and start production of its electric vehicle in 2018, claims Automotive News

Falling Behind Isn't A Concern

The new timeline puts Lucid Motors behind a highly-competitive segment that's seeing new companies join left and right. But that doesn't bother Rawlinson, as he believes the team Lucid Motors has assembled, which came mostly from Tesla, knows what to do. 

"I have secured many of my key players," stated Rawlinson. "All of my vehicle directors that report to me were with me at Telsa on Model S. So the team that's doing this knows how to do it." 

Besides being an electric vehicle, the Air is expected to come with the necessary hardware to drive autonomously. While the vehicle will come out sometime in 2019, the driverless tech won't be available until 2021 or 2022, claims Rawlinson. 

"There are a lot of bulls; I'm a bit bearish about the software being available," stated Rawlinson. "But having that sensor suite means we can collect the data, the big data, and that in itself will help accelerate the process toward full autonomy." 

The plan for Lucid Motors is to build 10,000 cars in the first 12 months of production and eventually increase that figure to 130,000 units by 2022. Hopefully, the lack of money is just a minor setback for a company that has been honest and open about its shortcomings.  

via: Automotive News