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EV startup Lucid Motors CEO on why Tesla isn't its main competitor

Ines Ferré
·Markets Reporter
·3 min read

Electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors is used to being compared to Tesla (TSLA). After all, when Lucid recently announced the price for its upcoming entry level Air sedan, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk promptly tweeted a price reduction to the Model S.

"I would say our main competitor is a car company; I highlight Mercedes Benz in terms of the attributes of Lucid Air. We're going after S-class Mercedes, but it's a natural comparison, and I accept that comparison with Tesla,” Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.

Rawlinson was the chief engineer at Tesla for the model S prior to joining Lucid Motors in 2013. Now he’s CEO and CTO of the Silicon Valley start-up which aims at hitting production of its most expensive vehicle, the Air Dream Edition in the spring of 2021.

“I think it's really important that we start at a high-end position as a true luxury brand. I'm a great believer that the first product defines the brand in way Tesla model S defined Tesla as a brand,” said Rawlinson.

The Air Dream Edition will be priced at $161,500, followed by the Air Grand Touring at $131,500, the Air Touring at $87,500, and the Lucid Air at $69,900 — after a $7,500 tax credit has been applied.

“It’s absolutely my mission and ambition to make sustainable mobility, more widespreadly adopted. And we can only do that by progressively making cars at a more attainable price points. And that's why I'm so pleased that we're going to bring in the sort of foundation for the whole Lucid Air range, the Air at a more attainable price points in early ‘22 so it can't come soon enough,” said Rawlinson.

Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson, takes part in a press event for the new "air" electric car by Lucid Motors Inc. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, in Fremont, Calif.   (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)
Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson, takes part in a press event for the new "air" electric car by Lucid Motors Inc. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, in Fremont, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

Traditional car makers both in the luxury and mainstream spaces are rushing to come out with electric vehicle models. GM recently announced an EV Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq.

But Rawlinson says they’re not moving quickly enough.

“The traditional automakers are just not rising, stepping up to the plate fast enough,” said Rawlinson.

“That's really why Lucid's come onto the scene, to accelerate this process,” he added.

He points to a key metric used to measure electric vehicles: the number of miles traveled per kilowatt hours.

“We're not seeing high levels of efficiency from these other automakers, Tesla's right up there. Lucid is surpassing Tesla. We’re getting over 4 and a half miles per kilowatt hour. I'm not seeing anything close to that from these traditional automakers,” said Rawlinson.

Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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