Lucid Motors Is Churning Out Air Sedans At Its New Casa Grande Factory

Lucid Motors’ Casa Grande factory, named AMP-1, is up and running. Recently, Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson explained the Air production process.

Dan Clarendon - Author

Feb. 18 2021, Published 12:47 p.m. ET

The Lucid Air Dream Edition luxury electric sedan isn’t just a dream. Now that Lucid Motors has a massive factory running in Casa Grande, Ariz., the Air is one step closer to reality.

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Calling the new facility North America’s “first purpose-built EV factory,” Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson recently gave CNBC a tour of the assembly line. “We’re doing the preproduction run, the release candidates for Lucid Air Dream Edition, which we’re launching this spring,” he said.

After the factory is running at full capacity, it will be able to complete one car every 10 minutes, the CEO added.

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Where Lucid Motors vehicles are manufactured

With the first phase of the factory construction completed in November 2020, Lucid Motors vehicles are manufactured at the Lucid AMP-1 (Advanced Manufacturing Plant), which sits on 590 acres in Casa Grande, Ariz. Meanwhile, the powertrains are constructed at another factory about six miles away.

According to CNBC, the car assembly at AMP-1 starts in the body shop, where automated robots construct each car’s aluminum chassis.

“The all-new manufacturing system at AMP-1 embraces advanced processes, such as an aircraft-inspired riveted and bonded monocoque body structure replacing spot welds,” Lucid boasts on its website. “This gives the Lucid Air state-of-the-art structural efficiency.”

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The body then gets a paint job and descends to the trim line where the interior is assembled. After the car is attached to the battery pack, it “really becomes a car,” Rawlinson said.

“And then we put the wheels on, and then we put the doors back on close to the very end, and it goes to final inspection,” he said. “And then we have a few test stations to bring the car into life.”

Peter Hochholdinger, Lucid’s VP of manufacturing, compared starting up this “computer on wheels” to loading an operating system on a PC at home.

According to the Lucid website, the company is starting production with the Lucid Air Dream Edition, followed by the Grand Touring and Touring models. The Lucid Air Pure will roll out of the assembly line in early 2022.

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When will Lucid Motors’ factory be complete?

Lucid plans to expand its plant in Phase 2—upping the production capacity from 34,000 to 90,000 units per year—by the summer of 2023 so that it can start making its electric SUV, currently dubbed Project Gravity. 

“As Airs are produced throughout the latter part of this year, we will see the cranes moving in and construction beginning,” Rawlinson explained. “As cars are coming out of this plant, we’ll already be expanding, ready for summer ’23 and Project Gravity.”

But that’s just the start of the story at the Casa Grande property. The factory could be expanded over four phases, with the factory taking up 5 million square feet, according to CNBC. Rawlinson said that he’s especially excited for the Platform 2 project “where we’ll double the size of the plant again, bring in Phase 3, and really hit some serious volumes here because we can get this plant up to 400,000 units a year in its fullest form.”


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