Four months after breaking ground, the Lucid Motors factory in Arizona sits — its new roof and sign emblazoned on its side— waiting for construction to resume.
The electric vehicle company released Tuesday new photos of the factory located off Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Construction was “well ahead of schedule” when Gov. Doug Ducey imposed a stay-at-home order due to COVID 19, according to Peter Hochholdinger, the vice president of manufacturing who was hired away last year from a similar post at Tesla. The factory will produce the Air, the company’s first electric vehicle.
Despite the pause in construction, Lucid Motors doesn’t expect a significant delay in its completion even with current events, Hochholdinger said. Construction crews were able to finish the roof as well as most of the siding on the building. Tooling and machinery for the factory was “well underway” before the current crisis, according to the company.
Lucid Motors’ latest timeline was to start production of the Air, beginning in late 2020. The company did not adjust its production timeline, despite the COVID-19 related closure.
Shipments from suppliers have already started, according to Lucid Motors. The company said some of these shipments are expected to be received later this month. Lucid Motors indicated that move-in activities are expected to start in May.
The Arizona factory, once it opens, will be the culmination of more than decades-long pursuit. Lucid Motors was founded 11 years ago with a different name and mission. The company, called Atieva at the time, was focused on developing electric car battery technology. It then shifted to producing electric cars and changed its name in 2016.
The company seemed to have momentum at the time. Lucid Motors had successfully raised money, unveiled the Air, announced plans to build a $700 million factory in Arizona, signed a deal with Samsung SDI to supply it with lithium-ion batteries and moved into spacious new digs. However, building a factory is expensive, and the company fell silent for nearly a year as it sought funding to produce the Air.
In 2018, Lucid Motors secured $1 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Lucid said at the time that the $1 billion in funding would be used to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Arizona, begin the global rollout of its retail strategy starting in North America and enter production.