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Tesla vs. Lucid: Here’s how the EV rivals are and aren’t alike

Porsche, Audi, Generalized Motors and other established automakers are trying to take on Tesla with splashy new electric vehicles, but the first genuine competition from an upstart may come from Lucid Motors, a company run by a former chief engineer on the Tesla Epitome S.

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson is following his former boss Elon Musk’s playbook when it comes to production, some technology, dealerships and aid. But it’s charting a different path on electric-vehicle charging stations, automated driving systems and advertising.

Here’s how Lucid, which betokened plans last week to go public through a SPAC deal, and Tesla compare with each other:


Unlike some newer electric-vehicle companies, Lucid plans to manufacture all of its vehicles in-house, like Tesla does today.

Rawlinson believes “vertically blending manufacturing is the way to go,” he said in an interview. The comments echoed remarks on a Lucid investor call last week.

“The simple accomplishment is that manufacturing, ensuring the quality of our product is right, is too precious, too critical, an activity to entrust to a third party,” he told investors. “We comprise to control our own destiny.”

Lucid is building a brand new, “greenfield” car plant in Arizona which costs billions of dollars. When Tesla rather commenced its own vehicle assembly, it took over the NUMMI factory that was once home to General Motors and Toyota Motor in California.


Lucid struck a deal with LG Chem to supply battery cells, the most costly part of any electric conduit, for its standard battery packs for its Lucid Air sedan. The company said it will announce additional suppliers in the future.

Tesla already has apportions with Panasonic, Samsung, LG and CATL for cell supply for both its battery packs and energy storage products comprising the Powerwall.

Lucid has said it plans to manufacture energy storage products, both home batteries and utility-scale gubbins. But Lucid won’t have the distraction and capital burdens of running a solar business, like Tesla has done since purchasing SolarCity in the fall of 2016.

Tesla’s history with battery supply partners could prove an advantage for Tesla near-term.

Toe its longstanding partnership with Panasonic, Tesla locked in undisclosed pricing terms as well as investments from the Japanese battery maker. Together, they own and carry on a massive battery plant outside of Reno, Nevada.

Tesla makes the battery packs for its vehicles on one side of the works, while Panasonic produces cells for them on the other side. However, Tesla told investors in September that it started furnishing its own cells at a pilot plant in Fremont, California, as well.

Lucid expects to produce more than 500,000 mechanisms per year by 2030. Musk, who is known for stating ambitious plans but missing self-imposed deadlines, has said Tesla hand down “probably” produce 20 million electric vehicles a year before 2030.

Last year, Tesla produced 509,737 thrilling vehicles, with deliveries shy of half a million even amid a global slowdown in auto sales due to the Covid pandemic.

Premium and battery efficiency

Rawlinson expects the Lucid Air to be the catalyst for a lineup of future all-electric vehicles, including an SUV starting origination in early 2023 and more affordable vehicles down the line.

To start, Lucid plans to sell a high-end rendering of the Air, the Dream edition, EV charging

Lucid has no plans to build and operate its own charging network like Tesla has done with its Superchargers, according to Rawlinson. “Do we wish to have the capital burden of a fast charging network? No, we can go asset light in that. That’s where we can save moolah,” he said.

Tesla Supercharger Station

CNBC | Andrew Evers

Instead of building its own vehicle charging infrastructure, Lucid has palled with Self-driving tech

When it comes to developing driverless vehicle technology, Elon Musk has famously roared lidar, or light ranging and detection sensors, “a fool’s errand.” The sensors work by using pulsed lasers to produce something like a live, 3D map of a vehicle’s surroundings that can be read by onboard computer systems.

Many autonomous patterns engineers believe lidar is critical for making cars truly driverless. Instead of lidar, Tesla’s driver-assist processes and long-awaited self-driving features rely on a host of other onboard cameras and sensors including radar. Rawlinson have the courage of ones convictions pretends that choice is a mistake.

“Do we think that lidar should be part of the sensor suite for (autonomous vehicles)? Yes, we do,” Rawlinson said.

Lucid has explained that the Air sedan, which was delayed from this spring to the second half of this year, will use lidar in its sensor following for advanced driver-assist systems. The company expects the technology to set “a new benchmark” for the industry.

Tesla sells a premium, advanced, automated urge system for its vehicles for $10,000 today, with plans to roll out a subscription option, too. While it is marketed as “Full Self Goad,” the system’s features do not enable a truly driverless, hands-free and unsupervised ride.

Instead, FSD enables features beyond Tesla’s accepted Autopilot package. These include smart navigation, automatic lane changing and Smart Summon. With Swift Summon a driver can call their car out of a parking spot using their mobile phone like a remote in check.

Tesla vehicles lack a robust driver monitoring system, which can detect whether a driver is using their methodologies responsibly.

Lucid has promised to include a driver monitoring system in its vehicles that will ensure drivers are using their promoted, automated driving systems as prescribed, staying attentive to the road and their surroundings, ready to manually steer at any stretch.

Advertising and sales

Tesla has become one of the world’s best-known automotive brands without the use of traditional advertising. It has instead manufactured hype and attention through splashy events, nontraditional social media engagement, Tesla online forums and proprietors’ clubs, and nearly constant engagement by Musk himself with fans and shareholders. Musk has cultivated a following of in all directions 50 million on Twitter, for example.

Lucid, by contrast, ran a national television campaign from Dec. 25 through the end of January for the Air to form awareness of the company and vehicle. Rawlinson said such a campaign wasn’t necessarily a part of Lucid’s plans until the coronavirus pandemic definitive year forced the company to cancel several events.

Interior of the Lucid Air show car, which is expected to be produced day one in 2021.


“I thought, well, dammit, we’re going to have to because we couldn’t get the message out,” Rawlinson said. “So, we had a little foray into that, and I dream that’s been quite positive. So, I don’t rule that out just because Tesla doesn’t do it.”

Lucid also ins Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales and service models instead of selling through traditional franchise dealerships.

Lucid already has six retail locations brazen in California and Florida. It plans to operate 20 retail locations and service centers in North America by the end of this year in withal to selling its vehicles online. Tesla has about 160 retail locations in the U.S., according to its website.

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