MONTEREY, Calif. — In the thick of the glitz, glamor, and even the general chaos of this year’s Monterey Car Week, electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors (LCID) was quietly creating some buzz.
California-based Lucid did not have a stand at the Quail event this year, or a car on display on Pebble Beach’s “concept lawn” of new cars. But the company was shuffling clients, execs, and VIPs around in their Lucid Air EVs, as well as giving many Monterey Car Week attendees a ride in its sole EV offering.
“We're supporting with test drives all around the Monterey Peninsula, accruing incredible interest in our product, really broadening the brand awareness as we build up to the launch of Sapphire,” Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson told Yahoo Finance at the Pebble Beach Concours.
The “Sapphire” Rawlinson is referring to is the new top-end version of the Air sedan, equipped with three powerful electric motors, capable of a sub 2-second 0-60 mph run, and an ungodly quarter-mile time of 8.95 seconds.
The Air Sapphire will set owners back $250,000. But that isn’t the only pricing news that raised eyebrows. Lucid only a few weeks ago slashed the base model Air Pure sedan by $5,000, bringing the starting price to $82,400. Lucid also cut prices of the higher-trim Air Touring and Grand Touring each by $12,000, to $95,000 and $125,600, respectively.
“We reverted to our original pricing, which I think we got about right,” Rawlinson said when describing the price cuts — which for Lucid came after recent price hikes. “We hit some really inflationary challenges particularly in batteries as we got into the summer of ‘22. [So] we had to take a price action accordingly. But I'm delighted to say we're back to our original pricing structure, and that's been so well received by customers [and] the market alike.”
Indeed, Rawlinson said Lucid saw a lift in sales and product interest following the price cut, but wouldn’t be specific. Though Lucid Air sedans do not qualify for the federal EV tax credit due to the car’s high starting price, they do qualify for the commercial lease exemption, where buyers can take advantage of the full $7,500 credit via a lease program.
Lucid delivered around 1,400 vehicles in its latest quarter, missing Wall Street estimates. But one factor that could boost sales is the availability of a new product — in this case the company’s project Gravity SUV. Rawlinson said everything is on track for a near-term reveal.
“We're going to have a real launch event, an unveiling this November. So watch this place; there's going to be a world premiere and I'm really excited,” Rawlinson said.
Rawlinson said Lucid has around 30 test “mules,” or alpha prototypes of the three-row Gravity, as the company puts the new vehicle through its paces. Though pricing hasn’t been announced, the Gravity SUV is expected to cost around $100,000, with production beginning in the back half of next year.