Lucid Motors held a “ground-building” ceremony Monday at its plant site on the west side of Casa Grande. Focusing on the planting of a tree, it was different than the traditional lineup of executives and politicians turning dirt with gold-painted shovels. But the company’s plans are different from any others as well.
For one thing, the plans are much bigger than anything else that has come to Casa Grande and this part of Arizona. Lucid is expected to have a huge impact, eventually creating more than 2,000 jobs. Millions of dollars in taxes will flow to area governments. Completion of the first phase of the plant, to be followed with production, is anticipated in a year.
Of course, business is very competitive these days, and electric vehicles, while seen as desirable by many people, are still relatively new. With a price tag of more than $100,000, not many will be on the road in Pinal County anytime soon. Yet the Lucid Air was designed as a luxury vehicle with a 400-mile range, allowing Lucid to see a market that currently belongs only to gas-powered cars. That brings a lofty projection that 130,000 units a year will be produced in Casa Grande.
City, county and state officials have spent years working on this project and offering assistance, and it has been three years since it was announced. A major infusion of Saudi Arabian money helped it along. Always integral to the planning has been the fact that parts will be manufactured in Mexico, and the presence of the governor of Sonora in Casa Grande Monday, along with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, emphasized that point. The city’s location and transportation connections are once again a major factor in creating jobs.
Some residents have remained skeptical during the early part of construction, and that is not surprising as the shell of the PhoenixMart building sits idle on the other side of town. However, Lucid has hired local people and trained them to make cars at its California headquarters. As more are hired and construction continues, excitement will build. And Lucid really is something to be excited about.