InsideEVs had the opportunity to preview Lucid Motors' first New York studio before its opening, this Saturday, June 26th. Lucid already has nine locations open and plans to have a total of twenty-five studios and service centers open (twenty-four in the US and one in British Columbia) by the end of 2021. 

The Manhattan studio is located on 9th Avenue in the trendy Meatpacking District and is surrounded by cafes and outdoor dining. 

Inside the studio, customers are greeted with a Cosmos Silver Lucid Air Grand Touring as soon as they walk in. The Grand Touring version is the highest trim level you can currently order since the limited-supply Dream Edition is currently sold out. However, if your heart is really set on the top-of-the-line Dream Edition, Lucid will be happy to place you on a waitlist and will notify you if there are cancellations that make it possible to accommodate your order. 

According to Teslerati, Lucid has more than 10,000 paid reservations for the Air. Only about 500 of those paid reservations are for the Dream Edition as that's all that Lucid is making. The Dream Edition is the only variant that has 1,080 hp, as the Grand Touring version "only" has 800 hp.

If that's not enough, customers may want to wait for Lucid to roll out its tri-motor version, which is stated to have 1,300 hp and be able to run the quarter-mile in 9.245 seconds

Lucid also arranged for us to have a vehicle walkaround by the company's VP of Design, Derek Jenkins. Jenkins went over the exterior features including the unique clamshell trunk before giving us a tour of the interior displays and infotainment system.

Jenkins also showed us the large frunk that can hold up to 9.9 cubic feet of additional cargo. That's nearly double the size of the Tesla Model S's frunk, which holds 5.3-cu ft of cargo. He also sounded a bit disappointed that the Ford F150 Lightning announced it has a 14-cu ft, because Lucid had been touting that the Air would have the largest frunk of any electric vehicle. 

We also had the chance to speak with Zak Edson, Lucid's Director of Retail Operations. Edson showed us how potential customers will be able to pair the exterior color choices with the available interior themes. We then were able to try out Lucid's VR experience which gives customers an opportunity to view the interior of the vehicle and switch between themes. 

Lucid Air interior
Lucid Air interior

News on the financial front:

Lucid also released a progress report and some information on its capital and financial flexibility once its merger with CCIV is complete. 

  • As of June 21, Lucid Motors has completed the pre-production builds and has started the production of quality validation builds of the Lucid Air, and this week it is opening its flagship NYC Studio in the Meatpacking District, with the company’s new Chicago Studio already open as of June 11.
  • As Lucid approaches the launch of Lucid Air in the second half of 2021, the company anticipates strong demand for its products. Lucid recently passed 10,000 paid reservations for the groundbreaking Lucid Air, including the fully-reserved Dream Edition, the Grand Touring edition, and both the Touring and Pure versions.  
  • As enabled by the capital and financial flexibility available upon the business combination with Churchill Capital Corp IV (including the PIPE), Lucid plans to accelerate approximately $350 million of planned capex investment from future periods into 2021-23 and to otherwise enhance manufacturing capabilities by expanding overall capex investments by up to 6-7% during 2021-2026. These various investments would enable the company to:
    • Accelerate additional manufacturing capacity for the Lucid Air to capitalize on expected demand, and implement a dedicated Lucid Gravity general assembly line
    • Combines the next two phases of the Arizona facility expansion into one expedited phase
    • Provides 2.7 million square feet of additional manufacturing space by 2023, enabling increased Lucid Air capacity to up to approximately 53,000 vehicles per year
    • Improves production flexibility between Lucid Air and Lucid Gravity as well as for specific vehicle variants
    • Enhance Lucid Gravity design/performance
    • Vertically integrate certain functions (e.g., Stamping & Battery Enclosures) via accretive in-housing investments (higher quality/lower costs)
  • The company expects to launch Lucid Gravity at the end of its projected second half of 2023 timeline and intends to have increased production of Lucid Air in 2023 and 2024. It expects total vehicle volumes to be unchanged for 2023 and 2024.  
  • Lucid continues to expect existing cash resources following the business combination will fund its planned operations at least through 2022.

The new studio in Manhattan is not allowed to sell cars

Just as was the case with Tesla (and Rivian), Lucid is facing strong headwinds with its direct sales approach. The battle will be fought state by state, with the automobile dealership lobby fighting tooth and nail to ensure the franchise dealership sales model is retained. 

As such, Lucid cannot sell cars at the new studio in Manhattan. In fact, they can't even assist in helping the customer buy an Air. They are only allowed to show the customers what the vehicle has to offer and then tell them they can order one online via the Lucid website if they'd like. Lucid employees will have to walk every fine line when talking to potential customers, which we're sure will be a little awkward at times. 

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