Former Tesla Model S chief engineer takes over at EV startup Lucid Motors

Peter Rawlinson, the chief engineer of Tesla's Model S sedan, took over as CEO of Lucid Motors, EV executive director, the company announced on Tuesday. Rawlinson joined Lucid Motors of Tesla in 2013 as technology director, and will maintain that role in the future, says the company.

Rawlinson replaces Sam Weng, who will retire, according to Lucid Motors. Weng co-founded the company in 2007 as "Atieva", with a focus on the development of battery systems for electric cars. The company decided to change its name and focus on manufacturing a fully electric car in 2016, although it still develops some battery technology under the Atieva brand.

Rawlinson's rise to CEO has been in the works for months, according to three former employees, who were granted anonymity due to non-work agreements. disclosure with the company. The former Tesla executive would become CEO "in one way or another," one said, after the September 2018 announcement that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was investing more than $ 1 billion in the automaker. .

(That announcement came a month before the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.) Rawlinson attended the "Davos in the Desert" event in late October, although several Western executives withdrew .)

Lucid Motors' first car, the Air, is a luxury all-electric sedan that the company promises will offer around 400 miles of range, abundant acceleration (0-60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds) and 1,000 horses of force. Rawlinson said recently that the first units that Lucid Motors will produce will cost more than $ 100,000. The company plans to manufacture around 50 Lucid Airs by the end of 2020, according to an internal document seen by The Verge . A fleet of test cars will be built later this year, according to Rawlinson.

The automaker also plans to eventually launch cheaper versions with more modest specifications, and is also developing an electric SUV, such as The Verge reported for the first time in February.

Lucid Air was supposed to enter production in 2018. However, Lucid Motors struggled to raise the necessary funds to build its planned $ 700 million factory in Arizona, and spent much of 2017 and 2018 until came the Saudi Public Investment Fund. To help with the cash crisis, Lucid Motors signed two separate agreements in 2017, where it used its intellectual property as collateral for loans, such as The Verge originally reported last summer. The company now plans to open land in Arizona in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Rawlinson recently said The Verge that the company was able to make "very significant advances in [Lucid Motors’] technology" during that fallow period, including the "real advances" in Lucid's electric motor Air.

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