The first American auto assembly plant designed specifically for electric vehicles is almost ready to start producing cars.
The nation’s conventional automakers, of course, are busy converting parts of their existing plants into facilities that can make EVs, and although Tesla only makes electric vehicles, its Fremont plant opened as a GM factory nearly 60 years ago.
Lucid Motors, however, says its newly completed factory in Arizona is the first site purpose-built for that task.
Lucid, which evolved from a battery company formed by ex-Tesla engineers, originally planned to begin making cars in southern Arizona in 2018 before fundraising problems caused delays. An investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund finally helped the company break ground on the project late last year.
Just less than a year later, the startup says it’s finished with construction and will be able to start production on its debut sedan, the Lucid Air, by the spring. The first cars off the line will be higher-end “Dream Editions” of the Air — starting at $169,000 — with less-expensive versions to follow.
Although technically complete, the Casa Grande, Arizona, plant will only feature an initial production capacity of 30,000 cars per year. But a series of expansions through 2028, CNet reports, will raise that threshold to 400,000 vehicles — including a to-be-announced SUV.