But mass production of automobiles is a challenge of a different magnitude. The first versions of the Air cost nearly $ 35,000 more than a top of the line Tesla Model S plaid. To be profitable, Lucid needs to appeal to more than just a super-rich elite.

“Lucid’s biggest risks are in scale and capacity,” said Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at Wedbush Securities who tracks the electric car industry. “The first phase was very successful. Now it’s about the next level of adoption. “

Lucid plans to offer a version of the Air next year, which will cost $ 70,000 after a federal tax credit and will produce 500,000 cars annually through 2030, with a lineup that will include a sport utility vehicle and a pickup truck. The company had burned $ 4.2 billion by June, and its prospectus said it could take years to make money.

To avoid that Problems that plagued Tesla In its early days, when it assembled cars in tents for a while, Mr. Rawlinson relied on the likes of Eric Bach, Lucid’s chief engineer. Mr. Bach, another Tesla refugee, worked at Volkswagen and has a very German approach to manufacturing. He can grapple with the art of creating narrow body gaps, the gaps between metal sheets, which are a measure of quality for engineers.

“We don’t plan to pitch tents,” said Mr. Bach, except maybe “to throw a party”.

At the same time, the market is becoming increasingly crowded. Automakers like Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen have invested heavily in electric vehicles.

Mr. Rawlinson has confused naysayers before. He points out that some people doubted the Model S would be a success, or said Lucid couldn’t build a car with a range of 500 miles and get it out the doorstep this year. “There is a success story here where I make claims that seem unrealistic but are absolutely based on science,” he said.

Success would be an added cut for Mr Rawlinson, who left Tesla amid resentment with Elon Musk, the company’s whimpering CEO.



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