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A daylong event at Lucid Motors in Casa Grande Tuesday meant major celebration for the city, Pinal County and Arizona. Guests got an up-close look at something many had anticipated for years, luxury electric vehicles being manufactured and scheduled to be delivered to the first buyers this month.

The start-up company’s plant was announced with much fanfare nearly five years ago. After that came a long process of finding more financing for the company, building two plants in Casa Grande to make the cars and batteries, and gaining regulatory approval. The size of the plant with hundreds of people being hired, and thousands contemplated, leaves no doubt that this is a really big deal for the area’s economy. The return of Gov. Doug Ducey for the festivities indicates it is for Arizona as well.

Lucid already is working on a major expansion to make its planned SUV models. Meanwhile, a new Nikola Corporation plant in Coolidge shows Pinal County is an important part of the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry.

The cars being produced are luxurious in nature, and not many will be sold locally, at least for now. However, the quality of the designs really has produced little skepticism. The company is planning to deliver cars this month and says it has 13,000 reservations. The plan is eventually to be able to produce 1,000 cars a day, reducing the price.

Added to the festivities on Thursday was a panel discussion at Central Arizona College’s Drive48 training center at Signal Peak, which is crucial to the workforce needed by Lucid and other plants. It was part of the National Governors Association’s Fall Workforce Symposium held in the Valley this week. The session indicates the importance of Pinal County and Arizona in manufacturing and also the importance of training and recruiting a workforce necessary for the economy of today. That need cannot be overemphasized.

It was a big week for Pinal County indeed.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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