CASA GRANDE, Ariz., Sept. 28 (Reuters) – Lucid Group Inc (LCID.O) announced on Tuesday that it will begin delivering its luxury electric sedans with greater range than Tesla in late October, in a major challenge for the market leader. market in which sales of premium models have stagnated.
The California start-up on Tuesday began production of its long-delayed Lucid Air cars at its plant in Arizona. The company, founded in 2007, received funding from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund in 2018 before going public through a shell company in July.
Lucid Group CEO Peter Rawlinson, who oversaw the development of Tesla’s Model S before leaving the company in 2012, faces similar tasks to Tesla in its early days, including how to tackle manufacturing challenges. and increase production.
“I think the big challenge for Lucid will be execution,” said Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “I think they have a very good car. It’s very attractive”,
Lucid said Tuesday it has received more than 13,000 reservations for the Lucid Air models, which start at $ 77,400. It also said it has increased the planned total production of the premium edition Lucid Air Dream to 520 vehicles. This car is priced at $ 169,000 and will be available in late October, followed by cheaper models: Grand Touring, Touring and Air Pure.
One version of the Dream Edition has received an official government rating of 520 miles (837 km) of range, offering more than 100 miles of additional range over its closest rival, Tesla’s Model S, at the price. of $ 89,990.
“The proprietary EV technology that Lucid has developed will allow you to travel more miles using less battery power,” said Rawlinson.
Lucid has yet to disclose the battery capacity of the high-end version of Lucid Air, but has stated that its Lucid Air Grand Touring version has an official EPA rating of 516 miles of range with a 112 kWh battery. , which gives it an industry-leading efficiency of 4.6 miles per kilowatt hour.
Musk said in June that Tesla had canceled plans to launch a Model S Plaid +, with a target range of 520 miles, saying another version was “very good.”
Tesla’s combined sales of luxury Model S and Model X models were just 1,890 in the second quarter of this year, up from 22,300 in the same period three years ago. Tesla does not release figures for the two top-of-the-range models.
“The Model S doesn’t look fundamentally different from a Model S from nine years ago,” said Abuelsamid. “In the high-end market, customers are looking for the latest and the best.”
“What Lucid is potentially going to have an advantage is that the Air looks like a luxury car, feels a lot more premium,” he said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk slashed the price of its Model S in October 2020, shortly after Lucid announced the price of its base model. “The glove has been cast! The prophecy will be fulfilled,” he tweeted at the time.
Musk reiterated this month that “production is difficult.”
“Producing with positive cash flow is extremely difficult,” he said, citing the very slim margins of automakers.
Electric vehicle maker Rivian, backed by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and currently preparing for a stock market listing, began production of electric pickup trucks this month. The move preceded similar moves expected from Tesla, General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (FN), all of which are gearing up to launch electric pickup trucks.
Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Casa Grande, Arizona. Editing by Matthew Lewis
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