But mass production of cars is a problem of a different scale. Initial versions of the Air cost almost $ 35,000 more than Tesla’s flagship Model S Plaid. To be profitable, Lucid must attract more than just the ultra-wealthy elite.
“The biggest risks for Lucid come from increased scale and capacity,” said Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at Wedbush Securities that oversees the electric vehicle industry. “The first stage was very successful. Now we are talking about the next level of adoption. “
Lucid plans to offer an Air version next year, which will cost $ 70,000 after the federal tax break and will produce 500,000 vehicles a year by 2030, with a lineup that will include an SUV and a pickup truck. By June, the company had spent $ 4.2 billion, and the prospectus noted that it could take years to earn money.
To avoid the problems that plagued Tesla in the early days of collecting cars in tents, Rawlinson relies on people like Eric Bach, Lucid’s chief engineer. Mr Bach, another Tesla refugee, worked at Volkswagen and has a very German approach to manufacturing. He can talk in detail about the art of achieving narrow gaps in the case, the gaps between sheets of metal, which for engineers is an indicator of quality.
“We’re not going to pitch tents,” Mr. Bach said, except perhaps for the “party”.
At the same time, the market is getting more and more crowded. Car manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have invested heavily in electric vehicles.
Mr Rawlinson has confused skeptics in the past. He notes that some people doubted the success of the Model S or said Lucid would not be able to build a 500-mile car and leave the factory this year. “There is a track record here when I make statements that seem unrealistic, but absolutely based on science,” he said.
Nov 17, 2021 9:13 PM ET
The success would have been a little nicer for Mr Rawlinson, who left Tesla over discontent with Elon Musk, the company’s fickle chief executive.