CASA GRANDE — Lucid Motors is “achingly close” to rolling out its luxury electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, according to Public Policy Lead Daniel Witt.
Witt spoke along with several other panelists about the future of the state’s electrification industry at the Arizona Manufacturers Council’s Environmental Sustainability Summit on Wednesday.
Witt said that Lucid had completed its “release candidate” phase and is now in the “production representative” phase of the Lucid Air, which involves speeding and slowing down the assembly line to evaluate how to maximize output. Once that is finished, Witt said the company would begin the sale of the vehicles, meeting its stated goal of releasing the Air in the second half of 2021.
In addition to updating the status of the company’s manufacturing plant in Casa Grande, Witt spoke about public policy and how Arizona could take advantage of the quickly growing EV market and allow companies like Lucid to establish themselves.
“Now is the moment for this technology and the industry,” Witt said of EV transportation. “We are at a unique stage, a massive pivot that can occur in a short time due to economic and environmental imperatives.”
Witt said Arizona is uniquely positioned to capture a huge portion of the EV market as there are “synergies growing” between manufacturers, EV supply chains and transportation infrastructure.
The panel was moderated by state Rep. Frank Carroll, R-Sun City West, and included Witt and Brett Rogers, director for Electric Vehicle Fleet Operations with Republic Services, which is producing EV garbage trucks.
Carroll asked the panelists to discuss how Arizona’s future compares with other states out West, hinting at a rivalry with California.
Rogers said that they hope for policies coming out of the Statehouse to support deployment and acceleration of heavy vehicle electrification, such as assistance with upfront costs.
Rogers also said that, unlike California, which is mandating electrification, Arizona should merely incentivize changes with regulation.
“Electrification should make sense on its own merit,” Rogers said.
In terms of how utilities could help expedite the market transition, Witt said that on-site battery storage and charging are major opportunities. Witt, who previously worked for Tesla, touted a “supercharger” network that was built up in a short period of time and said the “gas station” model would work well for residents in cities like Phoenix who live in high rises.
Rogers said he hoped that, unlike Tesla, Arizona and other states would support a standardized plug-in system for EV.
During the discussion, Witt also teased that Lucid was soon going public and merging with Churchill Capital Corp IV, a special purpose acquisition company. The transaction is expected to net the company $4 billion.
A Churchill shareholder vote was supposed to take place on Thursday. However, the vote was delayed due to many Churchill shareholders being unable to vote on the proposal, possibly due to an issue with codes going to spam filters.
“We are thrilled to complete our business combination with Churchill IV and become a public company,” said Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson. “Lucid has further increased its momentum as we gear up to make the first customer deliveries. I want to thank Michael Klein and the Churchill team for their partnership and shared vision.”