A potential rival of American electric car maker Tesla will see an investment of about $1 billion from Saudi Arabia.
The company called Lucid is developing a new high-performance electric car. The company announced that the investment that it would get from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund would provide it with the necessary funding to complete the engineering and technological part for its first electric car being called the Lucid Air. The funds would also come be used for construction of a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. The company hopes to commercially sell cars by 2020.
There is also a sizeable amount of investment in Tesla by Saudi Arabia. An almost 5% stake in his electric car company had been taken yup by the Saudis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed last month. He also said that he was being coaxed by the Saudi investors to take Tesla private for the last two years and had even offered the necessary funds to do so.
The aim of Saudi Arabia in investing in electric vehicles is to move its economy away from its heavy dependency on oil.
Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer at Lucid is a formally a vice president and chief vehicle engineer at Tesla. He played a part in the designing phase of the staple car of Tesla – the Model S. He quit the company soon after the production for Model S began.
Luxury features that are not present in the Model S would be incorporated in the Lucid Air, Rawlinson said. The new vehicle would be given greater interior space and reclining back seats of up to 55 degrees.
“I believe that no one has truly yet exploited the full benefits of electrification,” he said in a television interview. “It gives so much space for more comfort and luxury.”
Experts believe that the overall performance of Lucid Air would at least be similar to – it not better, the performance of the Model S from Tesla.
According to the official website of Lucid, its car would have a range of over 400 miles on a single charge. The Model S has a range of to 335 miles on a single charge for those variants that offer the longest mileage. The speed of Lucid Air would be over 200 mph with an acceleration time of 2.5 seconds to reach 60 mph from 0 mph. The record for Model S for the same acceleration range is 2.8 seconds.
The Lucid Air is yet to be set up on the production line at the company’s Arizona factory which is yet to be constructed. The cost of the factory was not disclosed by the company. Derek Jenkins, the company’s vice president of design, said that the company is hoping that customers would be comfortable with a starting price of about $60,000 for the Air even though the higher end variations will cost as much as over $100,000.
(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)