How quickly things change in the car business. Just last week, the people at RECODE revealed a sketch discovered during a public records search of what may be the upcoming Atieva Atvus sedan. Over the past 7 days, Atieva has changed its name to Lucid Motors and released teaser photos of a vehicle that may or may not be the Atvus. The name on the steering world could say LUCID, but you would need to check with an ophthalmologist to be sure.
Details are few. The company says the sedan will have an 87 kWh battery, 900 horsepower, and a 0 to 60 time of under 3 seconds. Its website extols the car’s “long range driving and exhilarating acceleration.” Earlier this year, Atieva posted videos of Mercedes cargo van supposedly reinvigorated with the production drivetrain dusting off a Tesla Model S and a Ferrari in a drag race. Of course, that was before Tesla unleashed its all conquering P100D with Ludicrous — the world’s fastest production electric car.
(Yes, we know the Rimac Concept One is a tick faster, but with only two in existence, that hardly qualifies as a “production car, does it?)
Ownership of the company, whether it is called Atieva or Lucid, is murky. Apparently, its principal investor is Jia Yueting, the Chinese billionaire who is also the force behind LeEco, a Chinese electric car start-up that says it will offer the LeSEE electric sedan in the Chinese market soon. A concept version of that car has been making the show circuit since last April and was on display in San Francisco recently.
Lucid has reportedly received funding from Japan’s Mitsui as well as China’s Beijing Auto. The company is planning to build a factory that will make 20,000 vehicles during its first year of production and work its way up to 130,000 vehicles a year. Lucid is headed by chief technology officer Peter Rawlinson, the former Tesla vice president who was key in developing the Model S electric sedan. The Menlo Park, California based company also includes vice president of design Derek Jenkins who previously worked with Mazda.
Lucid says it will unveil a production prototype of the sedan before the end of 2016 and plans to start production in 2018. Since it doesn’t even have a factory yet, that claim is hard to believe.
Here are two more photos from Lucid. One looks suspiciously like the grille of a Chevy Camaro from a few years back and the other resembles the back window of a Studebaker Avanti. Derek Jenkins may have been a whiz kid at Mazda, but the Atvus, if that it is really what it’s called, looks decidedly dated and more than a little bland.