A Peek into Lucid, the Startup Giving Tesla a Run for Its Money

Once dubbed the “Tesla killer,” electric vehicle start-up Lucid Motors (NASDAQ: LCID) was expected to push Tesla to the ropes and threaten the EV giant’s global supremacy. Lucid seduced investors with the idea of luxury electric cars that offered better performance than the Porsche Tycan, Maybach S-Class levels of ambience and more range than any other battery electric vehicle (BEV) on the globe.

With its headquarters expected to be in mid-California, Lucid’s main base of operations would be close enough to Meta to poach some of its top coding experts while providing the startup with great weather all year round. As Tesla was still headquartered in California at the time, Lucid would also be able to steal talent from the pioneering EV maker in its quest to surpass Tesla and be the world’s largest electric vehicle producer.

However, Lucid’s overly ambitious plans crashed and burned in the years after the startup joined the EV game, and the company has never gotten close to reaching Tesla’s sales numbers, let alone surpassing them. Lucid Motors planned to produce up to 14,000 of the Lucid Air Saloon in 2023, but the startup only manufactured a paltry 8,428 electric vehicles by the end of the year. The first three quarters of the year also saw Lucid register a massive $2.17 billion loss, $630 million of it lost from July to September.

Several years after it was initially launched, Lucid Motors is struggling to fulfill promises made to investors and has barely made a mark on the extremely competitive electric vehicle sector. Chief financial officer Sherry House stepped down from her position in late 2023, dealing another blow to a company that struggled to stay afloat and boost its production output for several years, forcing it to name vice president of accounting and principal accounting officer Gagan Dhingra as interim CFO.

House’s resignation came weeks after Lucid Motors unveiled the Gravity SUV and only days after the beleaguered EV maker was struck from the NASDAQ-100 index. Although House said she was confident in the company’s future, things aren’t looking good for Lucid, especially with electric vehicle demand cooling in recent months amid rising interest rates, high living costs and stiff competition.

Consequently, established automakers such as Ford and General Motors have scaled back their ambitious plans to fully electrify their vehicle lineups over the next decade in favor of more modest plans. Extreme competition from Chinese EV makers also forced Tesla to cut electric vehicle prices in most major markets, causing both new and used EV prices to fall across the board.

Lucid is now testing the Gravity SUV and is constructing a massive facility in Arizona that will reportedly produce 400,000 EVs per annum; the company is also finishing up a manufacturing center in Saudi Arabia that will produce 155,000 electric cars.

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