Lucid Motors begins accepting $1,000 deposits for the Air

Jonathon Ramsey

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Lucid Motors showed us its Air luxury electric sedan three years ago, setting 2018 as the original production target. After a few stumbles and a $1B investment from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the company broke ground on its Arizona factory last month, and just released video of a second-gen prototype tooling around the California headquarters that's supposedly 95% close to the retail model. With plans to start production at the end of 2020, Lucid's now taking deposits from U.S. and Canadian residents – or should we say, taking deposits again, after opening that window in 2016 and 2018. An e-mail to potential customers explained the refundable placeholder is now $1,000, down from the previous deposit amount of $2,500. Earlier depositors who put down the larger sum can get refunds of $1,500 if they'd still like to reserve an Air, and they'll retain their original spot in line.

For now, Lucid's building 80 of the beta prototypes at the Newark, Calif., head office, including the aluminum body shells. A leadership team from the Casa Grande, Ariz., plant is in Newark to study the builds so that everyone from management down knows what a properly built Air looks like. The 80 units will be used for validation and testing as the factory gets built and tools up for market assembly. Producing cars before the end of 2020 is a mighty tight schedule, especially for a new car company still constructing its facilities. 

Now we wait to see if the production Air can match the cars on show and on test for the past couple of years. There'd been talk of starting sales with 255 Launch Editions that required a $25,500 deposit on the $165,000 model, but we haven't heard anything of it recently, and it's not clear if anyone plunked down that dosh. The standard Lucid with a 100-kWh battery and 300-mile range is said to start at around $60,000 before incentives, a loaded model with the larger 130-kWh battery good for 400 miles of range costing more than $100,000. The flagship trim could deliver roughly 1,000 horsepower, a sprint to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds, and a top speed beyond 200 mph. The Air has already done 217 mph and 235 mph at a high-speed oval, and broken an EV record at Laguna Seca.   

International hand-raisers can put their names on a list for consideration. Lucid will be in touch with U.S. and Canadian reservation holders on the eve of production to discuss turning deposits into down payments and configuring vehicles. The company wants to deliver cars in the order that reservations were made, but does "reserve the right to resequence reservations based on delivery locations and vehicle configurations."

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