When I went to visit Lucid’s Silicon Valley facility in September, I was told that the Casa Grande, Ariz. facility was nearly up and running. I was cautiously optimistic that such a large facility could be built and ready to turn out a brand new from-scratch electric car in under a year, but being that the company broke ground in December of 2019 and even with coronavirus-related delays in construction still managed to get the damn thing to this point in late November of 2020 is a testament to the underpromise and overdeliver lifestyle that Lucid seems to be delivering on at every step.
As opposed to the bold and brash path that Tesla has taken over the last decade, shouting company progress from up high on a Twitter soapbox, Lucid has been speaking softly and carrying a giant fuck-off stick. If the Air doesn’t deliver exactly what they say it delivers, at this point I’ll be a little bit surprised. The company isn’t built on a foundation of braggadocio and that seems a little refreshing from an electric car startup.
On Tuesday Lucid announced the completion of phase one of its first full-scale manufacturing facility, and it should still be on track to deliver the first customer Air luxury electric sedans in the spring of next year. Further expansion of the site will begin early in 2021 to allow the company to begin production of its SUV, slated for a 2023 delivery date.
In my time at the Silicon Valley location, I saw dozens of beta and prototype Lucid Airs already completed and looking pretty much ready for prime time. In addition to being an actually really beautiful car, it seems to be pretty well put together. Of course, most of these are hand-built prototypes, so time will tell if the production version can stack up to this. Lucid says it is in the process of building a final series of “production-representative” versions of the car to complete testing ahead of full-scale launch.
The plan for this facility, just south of Phoenix, is to cut the red ribbon with an initial capacity of 30,000 annual units. The launch will of course begin with the most expensive and most powerful Lucid Air Dream Edition models, which make 1,080 horsepower and retail at $169,000. It will take a year for Lucid to deliver the Air Pure, which is the least expensive model planned, starting at $69,900.
Lucid is already looking at two further expansions beyond adding another production line for the SUV. Construction will continue on through 2028, taking the factory from its current 999,000 square feet to over 5 million square feet, says the company. Production will allegedly ramp from the current plan of 30,000 units per year to a whopping 400,000 units per year.
The Arizona site was selected for a number of reasons – including infrastructure, talent, geographic location, and pre-existing automotive supply chain – but it also offered space for a large footprint and planned expansions, as key areas of the factory were intentionally designed with this in mind. This includes a state-of-the-art, water-based paint shop designed to be future-proof with the necessary footprint and specialized infrastructure so it can be expanded to meet the needs of all future phases of the factory itself. A total of four phases are planned through 2028, taking the square footage of the factory from its current 999,000 square feet to 5.1 million square feet. In its final form, AMP-1’s manufacturing capacity will be up to 400,000 units per year.
I’ve been promised a visit to this facility as well, hopefully around the time the first production cars roll off the assembly line, and look forward to taking it all in first hand. Of course, I’ll report back with any concrete findings. In the meantime, this looks quite promising for Lucid. I wonder if this means the company’s stock price will shoot up to half a trillion dollars.