Lucid Motors Hits Key Milestone As Luxury EV Rival To Tesla Looms

Lucid Motors, the luxury EV startup unabashedly aiming at Tesla (TSLA), affirmed it will start deliveries of its first electric vehicle this year as reservations reached a key level. Churchill Capital Corp IV (CCIV), which is taking Lucid public, fell sharply.


Lucid has finished its preproduction phase after a series of delays, executives said on call with investors Tuesday. The news comes ahead of a July 22 shareholder vote on its listing.

“The testing and validation of Lucid Air is progressing well,” CEO Peter Rawlinson said on the call, according to Bloomberg. “It’s on track for the second half of 2021 start of production for customer deliveries.”

In a slide deck filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission July 13, Lucid touted more than 10,000 reservations for the Air, representing $900 million in anticipated sales. It claimed the Air beats the Tesla Model S and Amazon-backed EV startup Rivian’s R1T in battery efficiency, which it calls the ultimate measure of EV technology. It also claims the Air’s beats luxury EVs from Jaguar, Porsche and Audi on that metric.

The Newark, Calif.-based company plans to accelerate its Arizona factory expansion to meet demand for its Air electric sedan. And it will add a dedicated assembly line for its next model, the Gravity electric SUV, due in 2023. Funds from the merger will allow Lucid to step up growth plans, CFO Sherry House said.

Lucid also sees itself as an EV battery innovator and an EV technology supplier to third parties.

In February, Lucid and Churchill Capital Corp IV (CCIV), a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC started by investment banker Michael Klein, announced a merger agreement. The Lucid stock deal, which was the largest SPAC merger ever, valued Lucid at around $24 billion and provided Lucid with around $4.4 billion in cash.

Lucid touts EV technology that was developed in-house. It describes the Lucid Air as the “quickest, longest range, fastest charging electric car in the world,” delivering 500 miles of range. It also boasts of high-end features such as “glass cockpit.”

The EV starts around $70,000 after tax credits but an initial Air Dream Edition will cost $162,000. The Lucid Air features an autonomous driving system using 32 sensors including long-distance Lidar, a safety technology that Tesla long avoided.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted last year the “gauntlet has been thrown” after base pricing of the Lucid Air was announced. Tesla went on to cut the Model S price.

This month, Tesla raised U.S. prices of its base-model Model S. Last month, Model S Plaid deliveries began, but only after Elon Musk canceled the Model S Plaid Plus.

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Shares of Churchill Capital fell 8.2% to 23.79 in Wednesday’s stock market trading. The soon-to-be Lucid stock, which will trade under the ticker LCID, surged in February after the reverse merger news. Tesla stock fell 2.3%.

Lucid’s backers include Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, BlackRock, Fidelity and others.

Lucid’s affirmation of production and delivery plans are a shot in the arm for new EV stocks. Peers including Nikola (NKLA) and Lordstown Motors (RIDE) nose-dived after high-profile troubles.

Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna.


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