© Reuters. Peter Rawlinson, CTO and VP of Lucid Motors, speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York
By Hyunjoo Jin and Joshua Franklin SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson told Reuters on Tuesday that the luxury electric car maker plans to launch a rival for the Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc Model 3. in 2024 or 2025. The company led by the former Tesla engineer is following the same strategy as Tesla, starting with a luxury car to create a halo around the brand and then expanding to the mass market. This week it announced plans to go public by merging with a blank checking company, a move that indicated a market capitalization of $ 56 billion, before regular production of the first Lucid Motors model begins. Increasing production of a massive car is a huge financial challenge, Rawlinson said. “I can’t wait to do that,” he told Reuters, referring to the rival of Tesla’s Model 3, the least expensive sedan. But first Rawlinson said that for now he would focus on the larger, luxury car, which paradoxically requires fewer resources. “Making a car smaller requires more capital, because you need a bigger factory and more automation,” he said. Experts say it may be too late for Lucid to launch the affordable model, as legacy manufacturers like Volkswagen (DE :), Hyundai Motor and Ford are already introducing affordable models to challenge Tesla. “There is a question mark as to whether there will be a market left for Lucid after four or five years,” said Mel Yu, an auto industry analyst. Lucid Motors’ first electric car, the luxurious Air, won’t enter production until late 2021, after the initially planned spring 2021 launch. Rawlinson said the automaker expects production of a less expensive, less than $ 70,000 version of the luxury sedan in 2022, followed by a sport utility vehicle codenamed Project Gravity in 2023. It said it is interested in developing trucks. and commercial vehicles. but they are several years away and could be built with partners. “The world urgently needs $ 25,000 cars. Lucid can’t realistically do it for another eight years,” he said, adding that even Tesla has yet to launch such a model. He also said that six well-known automakers contacted him in the past month and expressed interest in Lucid Motors’ technology. Cooperating with another company could lead to the manufacture of a $ 25,000 car in the next three to four years, he added. He also said that it is too early for the company to make its own battery cells for now, adding that it has contracts with suppliers LG Chem and Samsung (KS 🙂 SDI.