Lucid Motors, flush with a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia, on Monday started construction of the first phase of a vehicle assembly plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The first phase represents an investment of over $300 million and is scheduled to be completed by the second half of 2020. This phase will be responsible for production of the Lucid Air, a Tesla Model S rival promised to deliver up to 400 miles of range.
Lucid expects to inject over $700 million in the plant by the middle of the next decade with subsequent phases. These will be for additional models, one of which is likely to be an SUV.
According to information filed by Lucid in September with Casa Grande’s Planning and Developing Department, the completed site will feature 820,000 square feet of plant space. To save costs, Lucid is leasing the land but the company has the option to purchase it in five years. The owner is Pinal County which raised almost $30 million in bonds to purchase it.
Artist’s impression of Lucid’s planned plant in Casa Grande, Arizona
Lucid’s chief is Peter Rawlinson, who was the lead engineer of the Tesla Model S. He said the Air is on track to start production in late 2020.
The Air was unveiled in late 2016 and at the time Lucid promised the base model would offer 400 horsepower and 240 miles of range. The range-topping version was said to offer as much as 1,000 hp, a 0-60 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds, and 400 miles of range.
Prototypes for the Air are at a late stage of development and Lucid has a deal with Electrify America to provide future owners with hassle-free charging.
Lucid’s headquarters are located in Newark, California. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the company has also received investment from China’s Tsing Capital and LeEco. The latter is the television streaming company that also backed Faraday Future.