Lucid Motors cut the ribbon on its newly expanded Advanced Manufacturing Plant One (AMP-1) manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, Arizona last week, and InsideEVs was one of the few news outlets invited to a ceremony that included presentations by CEO Peter Rawlinson and Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs. The expansion quadrupled the size of the plant, from a little less than 900,000 square feet to nearly 4,000,000 square feet.

That's a lot of real estate for an EV startup that only delivered 6,001 cars last yearIn December, Lucid sold its 10,000th Air sedan after being in production for slightly more than two years. So why the big expansion? 

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Lucid's impressive tech, rocky start

Lucid boasts some of the longest-range EVs on the market, and its CEO and CTO led the development of the Tesla Model S. But its debut with an expensive sedan has led to slower-than-expected sales early on, though the company has serious plans to expand its whole lineup. 

After the presentations and ribbon-cutting ceremony, I was able to secure a 10-minute video interview with Rawlinson to discuss the significance of the massive expansion. Here's a hint: it's all about what's to come, not what's been done so far.  

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Lucid's AMP-1 manufacturing plant in CasaGrande, Arizona

Rawlinson was quick to point out that the company is in its investment phase and setting the foundation for the future. By the end of this year, the company's second vehicle, an all-electric seven-seat SUV called Gravity is expected to launch with a starting price of about $80,000.

Lucid calls this expansion Phase Two of the buildout of AMP-1 and tells us the added space is necessary for the production of the Gravity

Rawlinson explained the factory's original footprint couldn't support the production of both vehicles, but now it can. Both the Air and Gravity will run down the same production line simultaneously, and when Lucid's next vehicle launches a a few years, that too can be produced alongside the other two offerings. Moreover, Lucid will build power units for upcoming electric Aston Martins on the line too, Rawlinson said. 

The Gravity is expected to have an EPA-rated range of more than 440 miles and sport an impressive efficiency rating of about 4.6 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh). If Lucid manages to deliver on those specs, it will easily be the longest-range, most efficient electric SUV available. 

Lucid Motors future midsize vehicle

Lucid's upcoming midsize vehicle under cover

Those at the event also got a surprise: a quick look at the silhouette of Lucid's future midsize vehicle that up until now hadn't been seen. The look was a quick slide on Rawlinson's presentation and showed a vehicle under cover.

The midsize vehicle is expected to arrive in "a couple of years" and appears to be in the shape of a compact SUV or crossover. Rawlinson told me the price would start at around $50,000, so it's not exactly a mass-market affordable electric vehicle. It will be, however, significantly less expensive than the Air and upcoming Gravity, so Lucid is holding to its strategy of starting at the top of the market and gradually working down to offer more affordable vehicles.

That midsize vehicle is expected to be built at this factory as well, Rawlinson said, giving the factory a capacity of "90,000 units per annum," he said.

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Lucid Air rolling down the assembly line at AMP-1 in Casa Grande, Arizona

That strategy worked for Tesla, as it didn't reach high volume sales or profitability until the company was selling the less expensive Model 3 and Y, more than a decade after selling its first vehicles. 

Check out the video and let us know what you think of Lucid's future plans in the comments. 

 

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