Electric car startup Lucid Motors is riding sky-high at the moment, having just secured a $1 billion investment to kickstart production of its first electric car. Coinciding with that announcement, Lucid said on Tuesday that it’s teaming up with Volkswagen’s electric charging company, Electrify America, which will provide owners of its first production car a nationwide “ultra-fast” charging network. This is a very good move.
Rather than take to investing in building its own network of fast-chargers from the ground up, Lucid is leaning on the investment already being laid by Electrify America, which hopes to have more than 2,000 chargers installed at 484 sites across 40 U.S. states by the end of 2019.
The chargers can net 20 miles of juice per minute, Electrify America has said, meaning someone who buys a fully-optioned Lucid Air—with its purported 400 mile range—would be ale to stop and secure a full charge in 20 minutes. Lucid said that was a selling point; the Electrify America DC charges will have power levels of up to 350 kW, and also be located near a fleet of amenities, like food and restrooms, similar to Tesla’s Supercharger network.
And while there’s plenty you can say about Tesla lately, establishing a robust national charging network is one of the smartest and best things the company ever did, not just to serve owners but also as a kind of “put our money where our mouth is” investment in long-term EV growth. It’s good to see Lucid, VW and others getting wise to this too—even if the latter company is under the gun to do so thanks to diesel cheating.
Lucid expects production of its first all-electric sedan, the Air, to begin in 2020. That means by the time they go on sale, Lucid’s customers can rest-easy knowing they can jet around the country without any possible headache of range anxiety plaguing them.
There’s no shortage of EV vehicles in the pipeline at this point, but the latest from Lucid here really underscores the slow-and-steady approach the startup has taken since it was founded in 2007.
Rather than rushing to production and trying to attract attention every chance it gets, Lucid has kept relatively silent, especially after the startup fell into a rut over the past year, when it became evident the Air wasn’t going into production in 2018 as initially planned. Funding dried up, but it has locked in $1 billion from the Saudi’s wealth investment fund.
Now, Lucid says it’ll have the funds to get a factory up and running and start pushing out the Air to its first customers by 2020. And they’ll have the charging infrastructure to support their vehicles. It sure seems like smart planning on Lucid’s end.