During a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Phase 2 at its AMP-1 production facility in Arizona, Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson briefly teased the automaker’s third model in the works – a mid-size EV that will arrive as a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.
Electrek was on location this morning in Casa Grande, AZ, home to Lucid Motor’s AMP-1 production facility, which now houses Phase 2 of the American automaker’s four-phase expansion plan. Since we last visited during the start of Air production two years ago, AMP-1 has expanded from approximately 800,000 square feet in size to over 3.8 million sq. ft.
Phase 2, which will be home to production of Lucid’s second flagship EV – the Gravity SUV, also includes a stamping machine and a second body shop and provides enough room to bring supply chain storage and powertrains in-house rather than building them up the road and trucking the parts over.
To celebrate the massive (on schedule) expansion, Lucid Motors held a ribbon-cutting ceremony mere feet away from the Air’s general assembly lines, attended by Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and US Representative Juan Ciscomani, amongst several other local mayors and Arizona politicians.
The entire Lucid crew on shift at AMP-1 gathered around the stage as CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson thanked them for all their efforts that helped get the relatively young automaker to today’s milestone.
Everyone applauded when Rawlinson touted the specs of Lucid’s Air sedan, which, even at its lowest tier trim level, provides better range (419) than its “closest competitor” (ahem, Tesla). The crowd oohed and aahed when Lucid’s CEO discussed the performance and market potential of the ultra-roomy Gravity SUV (for good reason). Still, one quick slide during the hour-long event genuinely caught my eye, and I’m surprised more people weren’t paying attention.
Rawlinson confirmed that a third Lucid model is in the works and physically exists in its development form. It will be a mid-size EV and the company’s first model with mass-market appeal. Better yet, Lucid’s CEO has come out and said this new EV will directly compete with Tesla – more specifically, the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover.
Lucid’s mid-size Tesla competitor coming, but a ways away
Following the event, a more affordable Lucid model was all I could think about, although there were plenty of other sights and essential people to chat with to pique my interest further.
For example, Lucid’s senior vice president of design and brand, Derek Jenkins, walked me around the Gravity SUV inside and out, which I will follow up on in a separate piece. But as Jenkins and I sat in the front seat of Lucid’s second model, he shared some tidbits of what we can expect to see on what we are now calling “project mid-size.”:
Mid-size is a super exciting program. The whole point of all of this is to establish ourselves in this luxury segment and then take all the attributes, all the capability, and a version of the technology and go mainstream. That’s what that car represents, and it has all of that, surprisingly. So stay tuned. We’re going to say as much as we can as soon as we can, but I will say the design is fairly solidified at this point, but there are still things being reviewed,
Before my tour of AMP-1 Phase 2, I got a few minutes to sit down with Peter Rawlinson, who immediately reminded me that he has made good on his timelines to deliver Air and quadruple the size of AMP-1 by 2024. His next promise? “Gravity is going to be awesome.”
From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like another work of art in design, luxury, and, most impressively, in my opinion, efficiency – not just in kWh, but in space utilization and sheer optimization throughout the SUV.
While much of the early chat from Rawlinson was regurgitated specs from the presentation or details you can read on Lucid’s website, in the core of the CTO and CEO exists an ethos of “er.” As in, delivering cars that drive faster, go farther, last longer, and eventually are cheaper. Rawlinson shared that strategy with me last time we were in Arizona together, following the launch of Air production, sharing that he understands that the company’s vehicles are expensive, but that’s never been the end game.
The goal is to use that optimized technology and (hopefully) profits from those higher-end model sales to deliver a fully scaled, mass-market EV everyone can enjoy. That’s a similar strategy taken by America’s EV sweetheart Tesla with the Model 3, years after Rawlinson had left following his work on the Model S.
With Gravity production slotted this year and a third EV model design “fairly solidified,” Lucid is now targeting a much more significant chunk of consumers interested in a Tesla, and its CEO is quite open about it. Rawlinson was detailing Lucid’s second AMP facility, which will be erected in Saudi Arabia and have an annual capacity of 150,000 units annually. According to Electrek’s interview with the CEO, it will also be home to the production of the new mid-size model:
‘Mid-size’ is going to be our more affordable car – more of a (Tesla) Model 3, Model Y competitor. That’s coming in just a few years time. It already exists in a design studio, and it’s already with advanced engineering. I’m already working on ‘mid-size’ as I am on Gravity, on the technical side.
I immediately asked Rawlinson if Lucid’s Mid-size model would specifically be targeting the same audience and price range as the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, which he confirmed and shared the following:
Our mid-size is, for the first time, its overtly going to be a Tesla competitor. Its going to be the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. It’s our big volume platform and we’re going to do this and this is a few years from now.
I want to be very clear about that – we may be Mercedes’ competitors today, but we’re going Model 3 and Model Y.
“Years away” feels like a decade in the ultra-fast world of EV development, and Lucid will probably have to take a few more lumps before it reaches scaled production of “project mid-size” (remember, the Model 3 almost bankrupted Tesla).
A lot will depend on the success of Gravity – not only in sales but what the unique SUV can bring to Lucid in terms of clout and brand recognition, ideally driving more consumers to learn more about Air and, eventually… hopefully, this new mid-size EV.
Nothing for you Tesla
Stans fans to worry about just yet; Lucid has homework to do, but competition breeds innovation, and it’s nice to see another American automaker, at the very least, targeting quality affordable EVs. Let’s hope it can deliver.
Bonus question – What do we think “mid-size” will be called? I’m betting something like “arcane” or “ether, you know, since “Ocean” was already taken. Hey, those could at least make for better code names than “Project mid-size.”