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EV Startup Lucid Motors Appoints Former Tesla VP of Vehicle Engineering as CEO

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【Summary】Luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed current CTO Peter Rawlinson as CEO, effective immediately. Rawlinson formally served as Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and Chief Engineer of the Tesla Model S, working under Elon Musk.

Eric Walz    Apr 23, 2019 11:31 AM PT
EV Startup Lucid Motors Appoints Former Tesla VP of Vehicle Engineering as CEO
The Lucid Air electric sedan

Luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Peter Rawlinson as CEO, effective immediately. He will retain his role as CTO where is responsible for all of Lucid's design and engineering activities, including the automaker's first car—the Lucid Air ultra-luxury electric sedan.

Rawlinson joined Lucid in 2013 after working at Tesla. Rawlinson served as Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and Chief Engineer of the Tesla Model S, working under Elon Musk. Prior to Tesla, he was Chief Engineer at Lotus Cars and Principal Engineer at Jaguar Cars.

Rawlinson said, "It is an honor to be appointed CEO of Lucid at such an exciting time for the company and the industry. While the convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, the full potential has yet to be realized, inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. Lucid has the product vision, the core in-house technology, and the depth of talent to realize this potential. Working collaboratively, our outstanding team will create landmark future products, commencing with Lucid Air in 2020."

Rawlinson is replacing former CEO and Lucid co-founder Sam Weng who retired from the company.

Weng said, "It has been an unforgettable journey to be part of the company as it evolved from Atieva, the electric battery and powertrain supplier, to Lucid, the California automaker crafting the future of sustainable luxury mobility. I am proud of what the company has achieved, and I am confident that Peter is the right person to lead the company forward."

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The Lucid Air will rival the Tesla Model S

Lucid Motors is based in Silicon Valley and is looking to compete with Tesla and other electric vehicle startups with its luxury Lucid Air sedan. The Air made its public debut at the New York International Auto Show in April 2017.

Rawlinson has assembled a vehicle team that previously worked on the Tesla Model S. Lucid says the car is smaller than a Tesla Model S, but offers as much interior space as a large Mercedes S-class sedan.

In 2017, Rawlinson told Bloomberg that "I have secured many of my key players. "All my vehicle directors that report to me were with me at Tesla on Model S. So the team that's doing this knows how to do it."

The Air includes Lucid's proprietary electric powertrain. The car's motor and transmission have been designed as an integrated system, developed entirely in-house. Lucid says the air will offer world-class performance in acceleration and range.

According to Lucid, a decade of battery pack development have led to best-in-class energy density for an electric car. The company claims the Air is capable of reaching 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds while delivering 400 miles of range.

The Air also features a panoramic glass roof and a luxury interior inspired by executive jets with rear seats that can recline up to 55 degrees. The cabin is filled with many high-tech features, including a center-mounted touch screen display similar to the Tesla Model S to control most of the vehicle's functions.

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The Lucid Air's luxurious interior was inspired by corporate jets.

Outside of today's announcement, Lucid has kept a relatively low profile over the past year. In 2017, Lucid Motors moved into a new 305,000 square-foot headquarters in Newark, Calif.

In Sept 2018, Lucid Motors announced it secured $1 billion in funding from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF invests in green technologies, such as electric cars, with a focus on renewable energy and information technology. The funding will help Lucid to achieve the commercial launch of the Air.

The PIF fund is also a major investor in ride-hailing giant Uber. In June 2016, the PIF fund acquired about a 5 percent stake in Uber with an investment of $3.5 billion, the largest ever single investment in the App-based ride sharing company.

The company is currently beta testing the Air, establishing a EV charging network partnership with Electrify America, and preparing to break ground on a assembly plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.

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