After completing a merger with a SPAC, the California-based startup Lucid Motors raised $4.5 billion and started trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Monday.
Founded in 2007 as a battery company called Atieva, the startup developed an all-electric sedan called “Air” with Peter Rawlinson behind the project. He was formerly leading engineer on the team that created the Model S at Tesla.
The Air could not be put to production as planned in early 2018 because the company lacked funds. Although the startup had raised hundreds of millions of dollars at that time, the plan to build a factory for a sedan had a price tag in the billions.
After failing to find a backer in an automaker like Ford amid electric vehicle startups getting into difficulty in 2016 and 2017 when some folded, Lucid Motors received investments from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in 2018.
A $1 billion investment was announced in 2018 that gave Saudi Arabia’s fund majority ownership of Lucid Motors.
Not only did the Saudi fund help Lucid Motors develop its extremely expensive ambitions, but it also bought out the stake of Jia Yueting, who was Faraday Future’s founder and did not want to sell his 30 percent of shares in Lucid Motors.
In exchange, the company can help Saudi Arabia in becoming a far less oil-dependent nation. The acquisition made with SPAC was made with the help of Citi.
Lucid Motors is now working on the launch of its first electric car, and may become competition for Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and others that already have vehicles in the marketplace.
According to the company, the Air, an extremely powerful but serenely luxurious sedan, is set to be delivered at the end of this year with more than 100 being finished at its new factory in Arizona.
In addition, the startup is also working on an electric SUV called Gravity.