Lucid CEO: $50,000 Model 3, Model Y Competitor Coming Sooner Than You Think

This week, Lucid Motors unveiled its expanded factory, called AMP-1 in Casa Grande, Arizona. The addition brings the factory size from 800,000 square feet to over 3.8 million, adding a whole new production line meant to produce the forthcoming Gravity EV crossover. Of course, that was the main draw here. But amid the speeches from Lucid executives and hobnobbing amongst Arizona politicians, Lucid itself slipped another piece of information out about its next project, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it style teaser in a presentation given by CEO Peter Rawlinson.

Lucid’s once-rumored midsize car project is coming pretty soon, a fact confirmed by two of the biggest people in the brand’s leadership. “This is very real, this isn’t some [theoretical], we-might-be-working-on-something-soon. No, we’ve been working on midsize for quite a while,” Rawlinson said.

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Lucid’s expansion plans

Lucid’s EV tech is extremely impressive (and so is the Air’s range), but the startup had an up-and-down sales year in 2023 and often found itself facing intense cash burn. But the new Gravity SUV will help get more Lucid EVs on the road, as will this new midsize car—both of which the company needs for future survival.

The Lucid midsize project is extremely important. Currently, its lineup consists of the Air sedan—by all accounts, one of the best EVs on the market—but given its large sedan form factor and a price tag that can reach well into the six-figure range, its market is somewhat limited. 

People are desperate for more reasonably priced EVs, especially if they’re crossover-shaped. Likewise, Lucid desperately needs to get volume.

The midsize project, which has a targeted starting price of $50,000, should be the car to do just that. Think of this as a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y competitor, albeit marginally more expensive than the Model 3’s current $38,990 base price.

Until now, project midsize was mostly limited to semi-confirmed rumors, vague statements, and social media rumblings. Yet, during one of Rawlinson’s speeches at Lucid’s factory expansion ribbon cutting, an untitled slide with a veiled silhouette was shown to the audience. There’s not much to ascertain from the silhouette, the car is a two-box design, but it’s not clear if it’s a crossover, hatchback, or some mixture that straddles the two.

Lucid senior vice president of design and brand Derek Jenkins, did confirm that work was actively underway. “We’ve got to get [the Gravity] on the road first, but we’re able to finally work on multiple [vehicle] programs, in sync,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins told us that he’s spent the last 18 months working on Lucid’s midsize program. “The midsize program is going to the beneficiary, of all the learnings of efficiency, performance, space, packaging, performance, and amazing experiences that have gone into the [Gravity and Air], and we’re going to bring all that learning down to a more mainstream, accessible product priced at the sweet spot of the market,” he continued.

All of these statements track with past claims Lucid executives have made—including to InsideEVs—about the brand wanting to go for more volume and mass appeal. In an interview last November, Jenkins even said the company is “not just here to make luxury vehicles.”

Lucid Gravity Prototype Front Factory

Similarly, Rawlinson also confirmed that he was deeply involved in the process of Lucid’s midsized car. Rawlinson said that the vehicle’s final styling wasn’t confirmed, but Lucid’s engineering teams as well as its design and styling studio were working on the project. Rawlinson told us that he too has done design reviews of clay models and prototypes with Lucid’s design team, as recently as a few weeks prior to the Lucid factory expansion ribbon-cutting.

Although Rawlinson and Jenkins were adamant that they’re hard at work on that next model, neither would give an exact date as to when we can expect to see the fruits of Lucid’s labor. However, a conversation with Rawlinson does give us an idea of when we can expect something, provided we do the math.

“It takes about three-and-a-half years to do a car… that’s how long the Tesla Model S took, the Air was a little shorter because we really, really pushed, but that’s how long the Gravity took, and the midsize is about that as well,” said Rawlinson, who served as that Tesla’s chief engineer.

Rawlinson wouldn’t outright confirm anything, but he did say that some estimates in the media were closer than others. “The tooling to make the stampings, you’ve got to allow 15 to 16 months for those things to be made, so you’ve got to release the final design at least 15 to 16 months before you can make it,” Rawlinson said.

The car’s design hasn’t been finalized, according to Rawlinson, but if the brand is sticking to its three-ish year timeline, the design is likely close to finished. If Jenkins has been working on the car for 18 months, and Rawlinson says it takes roughly three and a half years to fully develop a car, that would put Lucid’s midsize car on roads sometime next summer, at the very earliest.

Of course, we’ll likely see some sort of teaser before the car officially goes on sale, perhaps by the end of this year. 

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correction 1/26/2024 11:11AM – Lucid AMP-1 factory edited to 3.8 million square feet, from 2.8 million.