The two sides of Tesla Motors have been forever re-written by Elon Musk, and all eyes will be on him as he delivers his keynote at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Coming just a month after a tumultuous separation with his wife, the company CEO addressed around 50,000 attendees, setting the tone for an event that signaled a seismic shift in the automotive industry. But it would be interesting to hear what Tesla founder Musk has to say about it now.
Three years after the flashy event, a bigger shift has taken place at Lucid, the small but rapidly growing luxury electric car maker founded by former Tesla vice president of engineering Lucid Xynos. On Monday, the company announced it will finally reveal the flagship sedan that Musk mentioned in his CES pitch, potentially at the show that kicks off this week.
Lucid CEO and co-founder Timothy Conver is in Las Vegas in advance of the launch event, and spoke with TechCrunch, promising “incredible news” on Monday.
“Our car has never been in production yet, so we had three years to do the research and development, to find out exactly what features the consumer needed, what technologies they needed,” he told TechCrunch. “So we spent three years designing the Lucid One.”
The car’s debut last year showed the functionality that Lucid wanted to put on this car, he said. Lucid — for example, its dashboard is simply a screen — spent $80 million on designing all the components, a process that required trying out the company’s new innards on real roads. “We were able to design each element, we were able to integrate every piece of it,” he said.
Conver is referring to a vehicle concept that’s still the company’s target, but one that has disappeared from its website. When I attended the show, I was shown an engineer in Colorado standing over a display with Lucid branding that was running “Lucid One” scripts — the company has said the car will launch “in early 2020,” which is what most were waiting for to see what Lucid was building.
There were plenty of startups at CES exhibiting electric vehicles and technologies with electric cars — Otto CEO Anthony Levandowski, for example, touted his company’s self-driving technology — but nobody was quite like Lucid, whose vision of itself as an anti-Tesla is unique.
Lucid operates as a “true creator brand,” a company that “never thinks about [selling a vehicle],” Conver said in the interview. “That’s kind of a piece of how we came up with that brand.”
With that said, Lucid has struggled with delivering on its vision in a timely fashion. Last September, co-founder and president Andy Palmer — who left Tesla to join Lucid — said the startup’s timetable was to begin volume production by the end of the year. While the Lucid One is certainly what people want, this is a company that’s not going to release it until late 2019 at the earliest.
“I’m confident we can get there,” Conver said. “Lucid One will probably take into 2019 to make that happen.”