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The Scope of Lucid's Ambition

hmp10

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In our almost daily series of discussions about the EV industry, today my brother and I were rehashing the (usually sad) fates of EV startups in the U.S. and the reasons for their varying trajectories: Tesla, Rivian, Lordstown, Telo, Aptera, Faraday Future, Canoo, Fisker, Bollinger, Arcimoto, Mullen, et al.

In the course of this discussion, it began to dawn on me just how bold and comprehensive the scope of Lucid's ambition was in entering the EV arena. From nothing more than a small enterprise that developed battery packs for EV applications, they took on probably more challenges simultaneously than any other startup. Before selling the first car, they designed and built a factory from the ground up. They engineered the most power-dense motor in the industry. They engineered the highest-voltage battery pack in the industry. They engineered the most efficient drivetrain and power electronics in the industry. They set new aerodynamics records. They broke new ground with component miniaturization and space packaging. They even developed the most advanced lighting system in the business.

Compare this to Tesla, whose first four years of car production were based on a Lotus Elise platform and a powertrain developed with the assistance of Lotus Advanced Engineering. Or with Rivian, which converted an existing automobile factory to begin production and initially sourced key components such as motors. Even today, with Air sales lagging behind hopes and expectations, Lucid has just completed a four-fold expansion of its production footprint in Arizona plus opened a large factory in Saudi Arabia. It has vehicles two generations out well into development. It continues to open new salesrooms and service centers.

What is the source of this determined ambition? Deep commitment to purpose? Certainty of ability to succeed? The confidence born of having assembled one of the best teams of talent in the automotive industry? Willful blindness to reality? Private guarantees of long-term financial backing to soldier through the harrowing start-up period of brand building?

Call it what you will. I just think the constant hand-wringing about Lucid financials obscures the recognition of the absolutely amazing things Lucid has already pulled off and -- if the early reception of the Gravity is any indication -- will continue to pull off as its starts to move into larger market segments than luxury sedans.
 
In our almost daily series of discussions about the EV industry, today my brother and I were rehashing the (usually sad) fates of EV startups in the U.S. and the reasons for their varying trajectories: Tesla, Rivian, Lordstown, Telo, Aptera, Faraday Future, Canoo, Fisker, Bollinger, Arcimoto, Mullen, et al.

In the course of this discussion, it began to dawn on me just how bold and comprehensive the scope of Lucid's ambition was in entering the EV arena. From nothing more than a small enterprise that developed battery packs for EV applications, they took on probably more challenges simultaneously than any other startup. Before selling the first car, they designed and built a factory from the ground up. They engineered the most power-dense motor in the industry. They engineered the highest-voltage battery pack in the industry. They engineered the most efficient drivetrain and power electronics in the industry. They set new aerodynamics records. They broke new ground with component miniaturization and space packaging. They even developed the most advanced lighting system in the business.

Compare this to Tesla, whose first four years of car production were based on a Lotus Elise platform and a powertrain developed with the assistance of Lotus Advanced Engineering. Or with Rivian, which converted an existing automobile factory to begin production and initially sourced key components such as motors. Even today, with Air sales lagging behind hopes and expectations, Lucid has just completed a four-fold expansion of its production footprint in Arizona plus opened a large factory in Saudi Arabia. It has vehicles two generations out well into development. It continues to open new salesrooms and service centers.

What is the source of this determined ambition? Deep commitment to purpose? Certainty of ability to succeed? The confidence born of having assembled one of the best teams of talent in the automotive industry? Willful blindness to reality? Private guarantees of long-term financial backing to soldier through the harrowing start-up period of brand building?

Call it what you will. I just think the constant hand-wringing about Lucid financials obscures the recognition of the absolutely amazing things Lucid has already pulled off and -- if the early reception of the Gravity is any indication -- will continue to pull off as its starts to move into larger market segments than luxury sedans.
Well written. I think it just comes down to one thing. A financial backer who wants to break into the automotive industry with EVs being the horse they are betting on using American engineering and ingenuity to create the most advanced EV automotive platform combined with the best engineering possible.
 
Well written. I think it just comes down to one thing. A financial backer who wants to break into the automotive industry with EVs being the horse they are betting on using American engineering and ingenuity to create the most advanced EV automotive platform combined with the best engineering possible.
Lucid does whatever is necessary to stay in business.
 
Agree 100% hmp 10. Time to add more Lucid shares to the portfolio. Long term investment of course, but if we can give short sellers a little heartburn...😈
 
Well written. I think it just comes down to one thing. A financial backer who wants to break into the automotive industry with EVs being the horse they are betting on using American engineering and ingenuity to create the most advanced EV automotive platform combined with the best engineering possible.
And this 100 year event, this transformation in energy systems leveled the playing ground for newcomers. A golden opportunity to establish a new automotive company.
 
There are a lot of ways to “stay in business.” Not all of them are equally good.
What would be your suggestion then?
 
What would be your suggestion then?
I don’t play armchair CEO. I don’t have enough context.

I ran companies. I know the difference between what we know and what is known on the inside.

A lot of decisions that seem ludicrous without context make perfect sense with context. It’s almost always more important and useful to ask “why” before diving in to making grand suggestions.

I’m not against a 6% cut of the workforce that isn’t flatly applied across teams. I would be very against letting go of, for example, the entire supercharger team.
 
I’ve worked in a highly technical industry for most of my life. From my experience I have a couple opinions that may apply here.
1. When a technology reaches its apex I’ve seen what I believe is a marketing driven effort to spin what is old as new or to create a solution in search of a problem. Here we may be seeing both. What I don’t understand is given the incredible demand for anything with a 911 on it I’m not sure I understand the motivation. Surely they sell enough SUV’s with clean enough motors to satisfy emission requirements.
If I was Porsche I’d keep expanding my na motor options and bring back the Mezger engine and call it a day.
2. I think this old adage may also apply 'To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail'

I'm not sure whether this is a take on the original post here. If it's a suggestion that Lucid was just wielding a hammer against every nail it could find, I would counter that more was going on.

As a start-up, Lucid had to prove to customers that they brought more desired things to the market than established manufacturers could: range, charging speed, power, cabin and cargo room . . . .

For starters, Lucid could not get the charging speed it needed to differentiate itself from the rest of the EV market without engineering for higher voltages than the 400-volt standard in the industry at the time Lucid began to design a car.

As electric motors are most efficient in the lower regions of their power output, it could not get to the efficiency levels it desired without developing more powerful motors than the rest of the industry was using.

To pull off the space packaging miracles it sought, those powerful motors had to have more volumetric power density than anything else on the market.

Even its lighting technology played a role in lowered power consumption and sleeker aerodynamics.

Off-the-shelf technology just wasn't going to cut it.

On the other hand, in areas where existing technology could fill the bill, Lucid used that existing technology. A prime example is the semi-active dampered coil suspension, a mature design from which Lucid could extract all the handling and ride compliance they needed to be world class in that regard.

I do get the point about engineering for engineering's sake, but I do not think that was the case with Lucid.
 
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