Lucid isn’t delivering electric cars yet, but it’s going public to accelerate growth

Lucid Motors is the latest EV firm to go public through a special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) shell company before delivering any vehicles.

The automaker on Monday announced plans for a “reverse merger” with Churchill Capital Corp IV, whose shares are already listed on the New York Stock Exchange. A reverse merger is when a private company is taken over by a company that’s already publicly listed, in this case a SPAC specifically set up for that purpose.

The deal will provide Lucid with about $4.4 billion in cash, and values the company at $24 billion, according to a press release.

Peter Rawlinson, former head engineer of the Tesla Model S, will continue as CEO and CTO. In a statement, he said financing from the transaction will go toward expansion of Lucid’s Arizona factory, as well as new businesses, including energy storage, and supplying technology to other automakers.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

Production of the Lucid Air sedan is scheduled to start later this year. It will initially be available only in Dream Edition spec, with 1,080 horsepower, a 503-mile range, and a $169,000 base price. An $88,000 base model is scheduled to launch in 2022.

Lucid plans to follow that up with an SUV it’s calling Project Gravity. Scheduled to launch in 2023, it will ride on the same platform as the Air. In a Q&A following the late-2020 unveiling of the Air production model, Rawlinson promised a “beguiling range of cars,” hinting that additional models are in the works.

Lucid Project Gravity - from video clip during Air debut

Lucid Project Gravity – from video clip during Air debut

Several other EV startups have gone public over the past year through reverse mergers with SPACs, as they look to raise funds to enter the capital-intensive auto business. The list includes Nikola, Canoo, Fisker, and Lordstown Motors. Mullen Technologies and Faraday Future are considering SPAC reverse mergers as well.

The one exception seems to be Rivian, which has already raised close to $8 billion through various funding rounds, including $2.65 billion

in a round that concluded earlier this year. The startup plans to launch its R1T electric pickup truck and R1S electric SUV later this year.