Lucid Motors goes to turn out to be a publicly-traded firm on the New York Inventory Change in a deal that can go away the electrical car startup with $4.4 billion in money. The California startup, which is majority-owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to begin transport its first luxurious electrical car — the 500-mile vary Air sedan — later this yr. An electrical SUV is slated to comply with in 2023.
Very like many different startups within the automotive house have executed over the previous yr, Lucid Motors is skipping the normal path to changing into a publicly-traded firm and is as a substitute merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Particularly, Lucid Motors is merging with Churchill Capital Corp IV, which is already listed on the NYSE. Bloomberg first reported that Lucid Motors and Churchill — which is run by investor Michael Klein, who has architected offers for Saudi Arabia prior to now — were in talks back in January.
Roughly $2.1 billion of that money will come from Churchill. Some $2.5 billion will come from a brand new spherical of funding operating concurrently with the merger, which is anchored by Saudi Arabia however contains BlackRock, Constancy Administration, and others. Some will go to charges, the remaining will go to the newly mixed model of Lucid Motors. The deal values Lucid Motors at $24 billion. It’s anticipated to shut within the second quarter of this yr, and Lucid Motors’ shares will commerce on the NYSE underneath the ticker “LCID.”
Led by Peter Rawlinson, a former Tesla engineer who helped deliver the Mannequin S to life, Lucid Motors was based approach again in 2007 as Atieva. It was initially targeted on battery expertise, however in the end pivoted into changing into an electrical car startup a number of years in the past. It has since grown to greater than 2,000 workers and begun building on a $700 million manufacturing facility in Arizona the place the Air shall be constructed.
Like a lot of its friends, Lucid Motors struggled for a time because it searched for brand spanking new funding. Complicating issues was the truth that Jia Yueting, the founding father of fellow EV startup Faraday Future, wound up proudly owning round 30 p.c of Lucid Motors. Jia turned an impediment within the firm’s fundraising efforts, which included solicitations from major OEMs like Ford. (Ford in the end solid its personal path into EVs, although it has supplemented that effort with a partnership with Volkswagen and an investment in buzzy EV startup Rivian.)
Within the meantime, Lucid Motors turned to hedge funds for loans to maintain the lights on, using its intellectual property as collateral, as The Verge first reported in 2018.
Lucid Motors finally discovered a savior in Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Funding Fund, or PIF. PIF pledged more than $1 billion to Lucid Motors in 2018 (just some weeks shy of the slaying of Jamal Khashoggi) in change for majority possession in a startup that aligned with the clear vitality ambitions touted by the Kingdom’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman.
In accordance with the investor presentation revealed Monday, PIF at present owns 85 p.c of Lucid Motors following a brand new injection of $600 million that’s imagined to maintain the startup till the SPAC deal is closed. Jia is reportedly now out of the picture, and Faraday Future is without doubt one of the many different EV startups to announce a SPAC merger.
Since then, Lucid Motors has been arduous at work prepping the tech-forward luxurious Air sedan for its debut. The automotive leverages the corporate’s lengthy historical past in battery expertise to ship greater than 500 miles of vary, which might make it as succesful as Tesla’s most superior Mannequin S sedan. Lucid Motors additionally plans to promote it on to clients, very like Tesla and different EV startups.
That battery tech is one cause Klein’s SPAC is investing so deeply into Lucid Motors, according to the investor presentation. Lucid Motors has “untapped potential in battery storage options and powertrain expertise licensing,” the businesses write. They think about the batteries particularly being utilized in the whole lot from business automobiles, to helicopters or drones and different plane, and heavy tools, too.
The investor presentation additionally talks up Lucid Motors’ rising cache of government expertise. That features former Apple VP Michael Bell, who helped deliver the iPhone into the world. Bell was beforehand CTO of Rivian till he abruptly left last February. Former Tesla executives Peter Hochholdinger (manufacturing) and Peter Hasenkamp (provide chain) are additionally amongst Lucid Motors’ government ranks.
Lucid Motors believes it could actually generate gross earnings as quickly as 2023, which is when its first SUV — known as Gravity — will debut, and to get actually into the black by 2025. It expects to have the ability to make and promote 20,000 automobiles in 2022, 49,000 in 2023, and as many as 500,000 automobiles a yr (together with the Air, the Gravity SUV, and future fashions) by 2030.