Lucid Motors, a rising star in the electric vehicle market, is revving up to start production at its first manufacturing plant in Casa Grande, Arizona this spring, CEO Peter Rawlinson told Cheddar.
"To the best of my knowledge, it's the first purpose-built greenfield EV plant in North America. It's been constructed in record time, and it's got state-of-the-art facilities," he said.
The California-based firm broke ground on the factory one year ago. Now it plans to start rolling tech-heavy electric vehicles off of the manufacturing line by spring of 2021. The plant will produce 30,000 units per year in its initial phase and ramp up to 400,000 units "later in the decade," Rawlinson said.
The CEO attributed the company's speed in building the plant to its flexibility and size.
"The agility of a small company like Lucid helps us enormously," he said. "We're able to set up and establish our own most appropriate processes and central to that is the production process, which will ensure a wonderfully high-quality product for customers."
That flexible approach extends to the construction of the plant itself, which is designed to grow with the company over a 590-acre footprint.
Lucid Motors' ramp-up also happens to be taking place amid a major political transition that could have significant implications for the U.S. electric vehicle market.
"I think there's a real great opportunity here for the U.S. to regain leadership," Rawlinson said.
He noted that while America may have the most technical expertise — due to the leading position of companies such as Tesla — the country is "lagging" when it comes to government policy.
"If we look at the worldwide picture, probably China takes the lead in that, frankly, and then Europe," he said.
Rawlinson added that he has "high hopes" the Biden administration will provide more support to electric vehicles. At the same time, he stressed that Lucid's launch model will stand on its own.
"This car stands on its own merit in the market," he said. "We don't need the artificial construct of incentives. This is inherently a better car than its gasoline counterpart."