EV startup Lucid Motors reported a 39% increase in Air deliveries for the first quarter of 2024, with 1,967 units delivered. But it grew sales to a still-modest total while reporting a $598 million EBITDA-adjusted financial loss for the quarter. Clearly, it's a long road ahead for Lucid.

The good news is that the company's flagship "Gravity" SUV is on track to launch by the end of the year. In a marketplace that far prefers SUVs to sedans generally, Lucid's fortunes could turn with the introduction of its first EV. The large electric SUV promises the same blend of world-beating range, compelling design and astounding end-to-end efficiency that have made the Lucid Air a favorite among car journalists and owners alike. 

Get Fully Charged

Where Lucid Stands

With the Air, Lucid has built an incredibly efficient, long-range luxury EV. But a big luxury sedan isn't going to turn you into a high-volume carmaker. Lucid has other plans—an SUV later this year, and then an affordable model to follow in 2026—but for now it has to sustain heavy losses as it builds scale. 

Yet the path to victory is far from easy. While Lucid has produced a world-beating product, it has done so at a small scale and primarily in the luxury space. Its full-year production capacity was just reaffirmed: 9,000 units. Last year, Tesla built roughly 5,000 cars per day. Growing Lucid into a full-scale automaker will require a lot of cash and continued investment in production facilities. Lucid's backed by deep pockets—its majority shareholder is the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—but has repeatedly had to tap that line for more cash. According to its Q1 earnings report, Lucid secured another $1 billion this quarter "via private placement to an affiliate of the Public Investment Fund (PIF). 

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson has said that the company's finances are "dominated" by investments in its future. That is why the company has given more and more stake and control to the PIF, in part because the open stock market has seemed uninterested in Lucid. Its market capitalization is around $7 billion, $3 billion less than the also-struggling Rivian and not in the same league as either legacy OEMs or Tesla. When you factor in that Lucid has about $5 billion in cash on hand, it makes it clear that Wall Street is not yet entirely convinced about the core business.

Lucid hopes the Gravity SUV will turn its fortunes. Then, in 2026, it hopes to scale up with a more affordable model. It just has to stay alive through then. 

Contact the author: Mack.hogan@insideevs.com. 

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@insideevs.com