California-based electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors just announced plans to build an assembly plant in Arizona. Lucid expects construction on the $700 million facility to start in the second quarter of 2017, bringing more than 2,000 new jobs to The Grand Canyon State over five years. The company says eventually the plant will turn out 50,000 to 60,000 of its electric luxury sedans per year after operations begin late 2018.
“Lucid Motors is building the luxury automobile of the future, and we have an opportunity to become the global leader in automotive technology. We are confident Arizona is the ideal location to advance our innovations and will continue to provide an excellent platform for our success,” Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s chief technology officer, said in a written statement.
The company unveiled two Alpha prototypes of their first vehicle last week in front of the Arizona state capitol building in Phoenix. The zero emissions electric car features an 87 kWh battery pack and an output of more than 900 horsepower. Rawlinson said that a version with a 400-mile range will be offered. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich also took part in the news conference.
So can Lucid compete in the electric luxury sedan market with California rival Tesla? That remains to be seen. However, there are signs that the Silicon Valley startup could potentially become a formidable foe for Elon Musk given that Lucid was founded by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla vice president and board member (Lucid started as a battery maker called Atieva). Rawlinson also brought his talent from Tesla, where he was the lead engineer for the Model S.
The manufacturing center will be located in Casa Grande, approximately halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. Parts and supplies for the vehicles will be manufactured in Sonora, the Mexican state bordering Arizona.
Images via Lucid Motors