Buoyed by the successful launch of its high-end electric cars and emboldened by industry awards, Lucid Motors’ Arizona employee count is growing and the company is seeking more help from the state in workforce training and other areas.
Hiring is proceeding as planned, and the company said it is pleased with the quality of workers here.
“More than 2,000 people are now employed by Lucid in Arizona,” Mike Boike, Lucid’s senior director of manufacturing, told The Arizona Republic. The bulk of those jobs are at the company’s expanding factory near Interstate 8. “We continue to ramp up production in Casa Grande and will increase hiring.”
That employment number is more than double the approximately 700 workers who were at the plant when the first cars rolled off the line in late September.
The company has two manufacturing complexes there, one producing electric power trains and the other assembling the Lucid Air, which was anointed as “car of year” by MotorTrend right around the time the first vehicles were delivered to customers last fall. Over the next year or two, the Silicon Valley-based corporation will start delivering other models.
Boike said Lucid has faced some supply chain challenges, without elaborating, but he said the company is managing these issues and continues to focus on quality assurance and customer satisfaction. The Casa Grande manufacturing facilities are operating seven days a week to produce the Air as Lucid constructs in another factory on the site.
Lucid also has a warehouse in Tempe, a showroom at Scottsdale Fashion Square and other facilities including service centers in the state. Open positions are on the careers page at lucidmotors.com.
Seeking more workforce training
Separately, Daniel Witt, Lucid’s head of state and local public policy, told Arizona lawmakers on Feb.14 that the company hopes to see expansion of the Drive48 program currently operating at Central Arizona College in Coolidge. The facility is helping Lucid train workers in robotics and other areas of manufacturing.
The company would like to see the program expand to other community colleges in Arizona as Lucid seeks to fill another 1,000 or so openings in Casa Grande by the end of 2022.
“That would get us into other counties, where we could interact with more faculty and students,” Witt told The Republic. “It would broaden our (employment) pipeline even more,” possibly bringing in job applicants from neighboring Maricopa and Pima counties.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes $30 million for accelerated workforce training at community colleges, including some for the Drive48 program, with funds expected to come from federal programs.
Witt was invited by the state Senate Transportation and Technology Committee to update lawmakers about the company’s expansion. He also urged local and state government officials to consider promoting programs that could help ease what he called a developing housing shortage in the Casa Grande area and strains on various other services including child care.
However, Witt didn’t tie his comments on these issues to any specific state or local-government legislative proposals.
To date, Lucid has received two job-training grants from the state in the amounts of $145,281 in 2020 and $414,733 in 2021, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Future scramble for electric vehicles
In addition, Witt recommended that lawmakers consider pushing for Arizona’s inclusion in the Advanced Clean Cars Program. Led by California, this is a loose consortium of 15 states seeking, through various regulations, to promote zero-emissions vehicles to cut down on air pollution.
Some states in the program are setting goals that electric vehicles must represent a certain percentage of overall auto sales, with the implication that manufacturers could divert deliveries to states with these mandates. Last year, for example, New York set a goal that all new cars and trucks sold there should be emissions-free by 2035.
In states with mandates, consumers will have more access to electric vehicles including popular models, Witt said. “The goal is to create a more fertile environment for the transition to these vehicles in the marketplace.”
The Lucid manufacturing expansion now underway in Casa Grande eventually will give the company the capacity to produce 90,000 electric vehicles annually, he said.
For 2022, the company’s first full year of production, Lucid plans to deliver about 20,000 cars — all Air sedans that start at prices around $77,400, prior to federal tax credits. The next vehicle set to roll off the line at the Casa Grande factory, by around the end of 2023, would be a seven-passenger luxury SUV tentatively named the Gravity.