The headquarters of Lucid Motors and the factory of Tesla Motors are 10 miles close in San Francisco’s East Bay, and their original offerings – the upcoming Air sedan and eight-year-old Model S – are destined to be carefully compared.
Despite rubbing elbows, the two companies corporate cultures are polar opposites. While Elon Musk sparred with Alameda County over idling his factory during the COVID-19 outbreak, then challenged officials to “arrest me first” during its early reopening, and then threatened to move their headquarters to another state, Lucid obediently dimmed its headquarters lights, throttled-back to only essential on-site employees, and sent the rest home to work on laptops. They adapted. No layoffs, no furloughs (in fact, their approximately 1,000-member crew will grow by 700 by the end of the year). No headlines. Their Bay Area workforce is now in a phased return and construction of the company’s Casa Grande, Ariz. factory never actually stopped, with its buildings now enclosed and the paint line being installed.
Tesla’s turbulence versus Lucid’s calm waters, you might say. And now, with the Air’s New York Auto Show debut nixed, Lucid is eschewing any kind of Tesla-type, rock-show car introduction and instead is showing off its production-spec Air sedan in an online event on September 9. Who knows? Maybe Lucid has even more to share. Stay tuned.
But already Tesla seems to be at least showing awareness of the Air’s approach. Along with a Zen-like design, a touted 0-60 mph time of under 2.5 seconds and advantages in interior space due to a miniaturized powertrain, the Air also boasts a claimed 400-plus miles of range. California’s working-remote orders put a kibosh on Lucid’s plans for a real-world demonstration (instead, releasing a video of it), but Tesla recently announced that the Model S Long Range Plus has now officially cracked the barrier, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifying it at 402 miles (after, yes, a Musk tweet about the EPA originally messing up the test).
Fire versus water. This is going to be fun to watch.