Friday, February 21, 2020

Notations From the Grid (Special Friday Edition): The Future Before Us....

The Future is already here--we hereby present a sense of the possible in this special edition of Notations: 

Michael Wenner
It’s no longer your grandparents’ automotive industry. As a matter of fact, it’s evolving so rapidly it’s no longer even your parents’ auto industry. In fact, the automotive industry has become one of the quickest-changing industries in the world.

The American automotive industry that has for decades been ruled by the big three out of Detroit—General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, is now seeing competitors building electric vehicles all over the country.

Tesla makes all of the headlines, but there are a few other automobile manufacturers that are making sure they are part of the electric vehicle conversation that is increasingly becoming a hot topic.

Lucid Motors

In 2007, a company named Atieva formed to build electric vehicle batteries and powertrains for other vehicle manufacturers. Six years later, the company brought on Peter Rawlinson as its Chief Technology Officer. We know what you’re thinking—who is Peter Rawlinson? Rawlinson was the VP of Engineering at Tesla and served as Chief Engineer on the Model S, one of the best-selling electric vehicles of all time. Two years after Rawlinson joined Atieva, they made another huge hire, bringing in Derek Jenkins, who was Head of Design at Mazda North America.

With two industry veterans on board, Atieva decided to change its name and strategy in 2016. Atieva rebranded to Lucid Motors and announced it would develop an all-electric, high-performance luxury vehicle. A few months later, Lucid unveiled the Lucid Air after two years in development. The fully electric vehicle has a front motor and a rear motor, giving it a total horsepower of 1,000 hp and will go from 0 – 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.

Rawlinson and Jenkins oversee all aspects of the Lucid Air, which is set to debut at the New York Auto Show this April. Production is slated to start later this year when the first phase of Lucid’s $700 million Arizona factory is complete.

Rawlinson is confident the Lucid Air will be a game-changer. “Tesla is a 400-volt. Porsche is introducing a 800-volt system. We are going with a over 900-volt system,” Rawlinson said. “Tesla hasn’t cracked it. We can take it to a whole new level of range and efficiency.”

A few weeks after Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, with the help of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the Saudis responded by investing $1 billion in Lucid, shunning Tesla. Lucid previously held talks with Ford to be acquired, but ultimately walked. The company instead plans to share its technology with other automakers and IPO within a few years.

Nikola Motor Company

Another company working hard to get its cut of the automotive industry pie is Nikola Motor Company. Founded in 2014, Nikola’s mission doesn’t beat around the bush —“Transform the transportation industry while improving our employees' lives and leaving the world a better place.”

Led by founder Trevor Milton, Nikola has already collected more than $14 billion in pre-orders for its Nikola Two hydrogen-electric truck... Keep Reading >>
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