Lucid Motors' rendition of "The Little Engine that Could" appears to be paying off. Years of persistence have culminated in the EV startup starting work on what will be a $675 million factory complex in Casa Grande, Arizona, about 47 miles southeast of Phoenix. The Verge discovered factory plans Lucid filed with the Casa Grande Planning and Developing Department. The entire 21-million-square-foot complex will take six years to build on the 500-acre site, with work not expected to conclude until 2025. For now, construction crews have started grading the area required for an initial 82,000-sq-ft facility.
The official groundbreaking isn't scheduled until Q2 of 2020, with the first Lucid Air slated to roll off the production line sometime before 2021. Based on a report from July, ex-Tesla exec Peter Hochholdinger will be responsible for making sure that happens. The company says the first phase of operation will see about 745 people employed as it ramps up to building 20,000 cars per year. By 2022, Lucid said it anticipates "having over 2,000 full-time employees working on site." On the construction side, over the next five years, an economic analysis predicts the creation of 3,230 direct and indirect construction jobs.
Casa Grande's been in a holding pattern for three years over the factory that one day hopes to produce 130,000 battery-electric vehicles per year. Lucid announced the factory site site in November 2016 after a year-long search in 13 states, with plans to break ground in early 2017 and produce the first car in 2018. Instead, the company descended into battles with a hydra of corporate financial issues as well as the personal financing issues of founder Jia Yueting, who once headed the Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco. After securing $1 billion last September from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the startup was able to get back to productive work, and in July this year Lucid moved into a new 305,000-square-foot global headquarters in Newark, California, dubbed "Lucid One."
Final stats on the production Lucid Air would be a wonderful next step. Last we heard, we should expect something like 1,000 horsepower, a 400-mile range, and a 235-mile-per-hour top speed. The first Airs will start north of $100,000, with a launch edition north of $150,000; a second variant somewhere around $65,000 will follow.