June 28, 2022

American EV startup Lucid Motors selected Vancouver for its first showroom exterior the U.S.The Globe and Mail

Across the nook from an Apple Retailer and some blocks from the place Tesla closed its retailer in downtown Vancouver, there’s a brand new retailer promoting one factor – a $189,000 electrical sedan.

American EV startup Lucid Motors selected Vancouver for its first showroom exterior the U.S. not solely as a result of the town has an eco-friendly status, but in addition has numerous drivers who buy $100,000-plus luxurious gasoline guzzlers.

So does a dear EV from an organization new to constructing vehicles sound acquainted? On the launch of Lucid’s Vancouver studio in October, gross sales executives initially prevented the T-word.

The corporate stated it isn’t aiming to beat Tesla. As an alternative, it’s after the Germans.

“The aim is to try to transfer folks out of conventional luxurious vehicles – like Mercedes, BMW, Audi – into an electrical car,” stated Dave Buchko, Lucid spokesperson. “As a result of, up till now, there actually hasn’t been an EV that approaches the extent of luxurious that they’re used to.”

Lucid, which was based in 2007 as an EV battery firm known as Atieva, lastly began manufacturing of its Air sedan this fall after manufacturing delays in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It expects to ship 577 vehicles to U.S. prospects this 12 months, earlier than ramping up manufacturing to twenty,000 subsequent 12 months and 50,000 in 2023. It plans to begin delivering vehicles to Canadian prospects in early 2022.

There are 4 fashions with costs starting from $105,000 for the Air Pure, which has 483 horsepower and a 653-km vary, to $229,000 for the “very restricted version” Air Dream, which has 836-km of vary and 933 horsepower.

To begin, Lucid is just producing the $189,000 Grand Touring mannequin, which has an 830-km vary and 800 horsepower. It expects the entire lineup to be accessible subsequent 12 months.

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Why begin large?

Worldwide, Lucid has 17,000 reservations – which begin at $400 for the Pure and $1,300 for the higher-priced fashions.Jason Tchir/The Globe and Mail

So why launch with such a dear automotive?

Tesla’s gross sales didn’t actually take off in Canada till it launched the comparatively reasonably priced Mannequin 3 right here in 2018.

“It’s nearly making an affect and getting folks to see what Lucid is able to,” stated Zak Edson, Lucid’s senior director of gross sales and repair. “And, as a result of we constructed a manufacturing unit from the bottom up in Arizona, you don’t need to begin with a excessive quantity of product – you need to kind of ease your means into it a bit.”

The upper-priced fashions have the next revenue margin which is able to assist fund manufacturing, Edson stated.

“Additionally, early adopters are sometimes those who just like the nicest model,” Edson stated.

Since deliveries began, the corporate’s market worth has soared, regardless of a U.S. Securities and Change Fee investigation into a few of its projections.

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Lucid’s share value has fallen considerably up to now few weeks, but it surely’s valuation nonetheless sits round $60-billion. For comparability, Ford’s valuation is round $80-billion.

Worldwide, it has 17,000 reservations – which begin at $400 for the Pure and $1,300 for the higher-priced fashions. Lucid didn’t have Canadian numbers accessible.

“So these aren’t simply folks clicking on ‘I’m ,’” Edson stated. “They must get out their bank card or Apple Pay and allocate some funds.”

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In the event you make a reservation, you’re not caught shopping for a automotive. As they get nearer to constructing your automotive, Lucid will contact you.

“If you say, go, then we’ll enter your automotive into the manufacturing system,” Edson stated. “After which that reservation charge turns into non-refundable.”

Rising competitors?

Lucid is ultimately producing smaller, cheaper fashions whereas staying ‘within the luxurious house.’The Globe and Mail

Lucid isn’t simply dealing with competitors from Tesla and conventional automakers.

“We’re monitoring greater than a dozen new EV corporations which might be planning [or] hoping to launch in North America within the subsequent three years,” stated Andrew King, managing associate of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. “Not all the brand new gamers will succeed clearly – however the scale of the variety of new gamers in a brief time frame is staggering.”

Firms launching new EVs embrace Fisker, Rivian, Faraday Future, Lordstown and VinFast.

In 2019, vacuum producer Dyson cancelled its electrical automotive after pumping US$850-million into the undertaking.

A lot of these startups are beginning with an SUV or truck – the sorts of automobiles that almost all of North Individuals like to purchase.

“It’s an odd technique to launch with a sedan in an SUV-intense market, but it surely didn’t cease Tesla once they launched,” stated Robert Karwel, senior supervisor of automotive follow in Canada for J.D. Energy, in an e mail. “The value factors Lucid is describing would put them squarely into the luxurious automobiles market in Canada, [competing] primarily with Tesla.”

Lucid’s additionally engaged on the Gravity, an SUV constructed on the identical platform because the Air. Whereas the corporate’s web site stated it’s “coming in 2023,” no launch date has been set.

The corporate is ultimately producing smaller, cheaper fashions whereas staying “within the luxurious house.”

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“Definitely we’ll have a extra rounded product providing,” Edson stated. “We’re additionally actively working with different [automakers] to search for ways in which our expertise can be utilized in lower-cost functions and better volumes.”

The corporate can’t reveal which carmakers its working with, Edson stated.

Residing as much as the hype?

Like Tesla, Lucid will primarily promote on-line. It plans extra showrooms, together with one in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall early subsequent 12 months and one other in Montreal.The Globe and Mail

The Tesla comparisons may be unavoidable.

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson, who joined the corporate in 2013, was VP of engineering at Tesla, the place he launched the Tesla Mannequin S.

Lucid has classes to be taught from Tesla’s missteps, which have included high quality points, complaints about customer support and overpromises about self-driving capabilities.

“Concentrate on buyer therapy would in all probability go a great distance right here,” J.D. Energy’s Karwel stated.

Like Tesla, Lucid will primarily promote on-line. It plans extra showrooms, together with one in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall early subsequent 12 months and one other in Montreal.

Whereas it’s going to have service centres in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, it’s going to additionally ship technicians on to house owners.

In the end, although, regardless of the automotive’s energy and vary, shoppers will should be satisfied that $189,000 is shopping for them high quality.

Whereas MotorTrend named the Air its 2022 Automobile of the 12 months, it stated that “if Lucid fails to rectify the numerous wonky quirks our prototype suffered, the model and automotive might go down in historical past as a Twenty first-century Tucker or Chevy Vega.”

Whereas EV gross sales are anticipated to soar by the tip of the last decade, there’s loads of room for EVs from startups and conventional carmakers – however success isn’t assured, Karwel stated.

“It’s nonetheless the wild-west in the case of EVs,” Karwel stated. “So there may be numerous room for motion right here, numerous room for fulfillment, but in addition room for blunders, too.”

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