NEW: Get Updates by Email

Lucid Model Y Rival Set to Launch in 2026

by | May 8, 2024

In desperate need of a more affordable product that can deliver a big boost in sales, Lucid is working up a new compact SUV taking aim at the Tesla Model Y. Expect it to enter production by 2026, with a base price of less than $50,000, said CEO Peter Rawlinson, earlier than previously expected.

Lucid Gravity debut in LA 2023

Sales of Lucid’s Air sedan have been slowing – but the EV maker hopes to rebuild momentum when the Gravity crossover goes into production later this year.

Lucid delivered a better-than-expected financial report this week, revealing it delivered 1,728 of its Air sedans during the first quarter. The numbers mark a big jump for the EV start-up – but are still little more than asterisk on the sales charts. With the company still bleeding cash, it needs to expand its line-up if it hopes to boost sales and revenues.

The California-based automaker is getting ready to roll out its second product line later this year, the new Gravity SUV set to share the same skateboard-like platform as the Air sedan. But with pricing expected to reach well over $100,000 in upper trims, Gravity won’t be the necessary breakthrough.

That job will depend upon what CEO Peter Rawlinson has described as a “high-volume midsize” crossover aimed at the bread-and-butter product line for rival Tesla, the Model Y. And it is now expected to reach production well before originally planned. During an earnings call this week, Rawlinson said the as yet-unnamed electric crossover will reach production in two years, with a starting price of around $48,000.

What’s coming

Tesla Model Y - front 3-4 mountains

The Tesla Model Y is the automaker’s best-seller. Lucid hopes to duplicate that success.

“We’re already competing with Tesla,” Rawlinson said during the earnings call. “But, wait until our mid-size comes out in late ’26; that’s when we’ll have a car at $48,000-$50,000, and that is the big one, the one that’s going to be really exciting.”

The announcement didn’t come as a complete surprise. Rawlinson previously confirmed to Headlight.News that Lucid would largely follow the playbook first written by Tesla – that Texas-based automaker initially making its name with the big Model S sedan and following up with the Model X sport-utility vehicle. Even though SUVs dominate today’s market, Rawlinson said Lucid first debuted with the Air sedan because its distinctive design helped create a halo around the brand. The upcoming Gravity should boost volume a bit.

Where Lucent is rewriting the playbook is that it will skip an equivalent to Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, instead opting for a more affordable midsize crossover.

What we know

Lucid LEAP architecture

The new SUV will use a downsized — and less expensive — version of the LEAP platform underpinning the Lucid Air and Gravity models.

That EV will ride on a different platform than the Lucid Gravity – though it will retain a skateboard-style architecture, with its battery pack and motors mounted below the load floor.

Lucid is expected to make a number of changes to the underlying technology to help bring down the cost of the midsize SUV. That should include a smaller battery pack for entry versions. But it will be offered, like the Air and Gravity, in a number of different trim levels. That will give buyers a choice of range and performance, as well as interior features.

Critical for Lucid will be driving down production costs. The drivetrain it developed for the Air sedan is considered one of the most technologically elegant on the market, and is highly energy efficient – why the longest-range version of the sedan can deliver more than 500 miles per charge.

But one of the critical differences, if Lucid can meet its goal, will be reaching real volume. “It’s all about scale,” Rawlinson said during the Lucid earnings call. “The more we scale, the more cars we make, the more volume we can spread across fixed costs.”

More Lucid News

Peter Rawlinson

“It’s all about scale,” said Tesla CEO Peter Rawlinson.

Speeding things up

The new Lucid model should be out in 2026, if the company can hold to its development timetable – something rival Tesla has rarely ever achieved.

It wasn’t expected to arrive for as much as another four years, though Rawlinson noted “I’ve formally stated mid-late decade, and that has been completely misquoted as the end of the decade – 2030.”

The timing could be critical. Lucid has been burning through cash at a blinding rate. There were concerns it might face the same fate as several other start-ups such as Faraday Future and Fisker, Inc., running out of cash before it could firmly establish itself. Lucid was able to line up a $3 billion bailout last June led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, or PIF, which now is the company’s largest shareholder.

Even with that funding analysts warn that Lucid could face another cash crisis by 2027, if not sooner, if it can’t start reaching critical scale. The question is whether it can hold on long enough to see if the planned midsize model can turn things around.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List is Live!
Get Updates by Email

Get on our list to receive the latest automotive news in your inbox!

Invalid email address
I would like to receive:
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Share This