By on July 9, 2020

On Wednesday, Lucid Motors announced plans to open 20 retail locations and service centers across North America by the end of 2021. They’ll be called “Lucid Studios,” helping the company herald in what it considers “new standards for sustainable transportation” via the sale of luxury vehicles.

You know as well as we do that this type of language is customary among EV startups trying to sell you on the concept of shopping your way into a healthier environment. Yet the strategy appears to be working. Electric vehicle firms seem to enjoy nothing but victory on this continent right now — even if they seem to be dying off in places like China — and are poised to make big moves over the next few years. 

That said, it’s always prudent to take any announcements from an automaker with a grain of salt. That’s doubly true if they happen to be in their infancy. Elio Motors had (has?) a pretty sound business plan, and we all know how that turned out. In the electric realm, we could just as easily point to Faraday Future, Dyson, or the recent troubles incurred by Nio — the latter of which seemed positioned to take on Tesla in Asia a few months ago, with plans to eventually market product here.

Lucid, like so many automotive startups before it, may end up in a similarly sinking boat. Its direct-to-consumer model is hardly new among EV companies. It also harps on sustainable materials integrated into both its products and facilities using flowery language, most of it woefully empty.

“Just as the Lucid Air is meticulously designed and engineered to be a new benchmark in the luxury electric car segment, we designed Lucid Studios to be engaging, to start conversations and to help educate people about the performance and efficiency benchmarks possible in an electric vehicle,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors. “A Lucid Studio is a place for people to learn about our unique brand while supporting every facet of the customer journey.”

You have to wonder if the people writing the copy for these kinds of press announcements actually speak them aloud before publishing. Obviously, they can’t just say “we’re opening some shops, come on by” and maintain that air of subtle superiority. But there’s just something so hollow and monotonous about the media releases of luxury automakers. Is this how fancier people like being spoken to, or have I just read too much marketing copy?

Happily, Lucid’s commitment to actually building these stores seems far less empty than the default phrasing it chose for marketing purposes. It’s already promised to construct 8 storefronts posthaste. While the first few will be located in California, the company said it wants to put one in New York City’s Meatpacking District; another just outside Washington, D.C.; and two on Florida’s West Coast.

From Lucid Motors:

With a direct-to-consumer model, Lucid will offer a digitally enhanced luxury experience tailored to each customer’s purchase and ownership preferences. Customers will have the option to visit a Studio in person, make their inquiries entirely online, or any combination of the two. The company’s California-inspired design aesthetic is integrated throughout the experience in both physical spaces and digital experiences.

For Lucid Studios, this translates to an efficient design that supports every phase of the customer journey, from discovery to delivery and every moment in between. To that end, Lucid purposely selected spaces with relatively small footprints in high-traffic areas, where customers can spend time in a thoughtfully designed space that highlights Lucid’s advanced technology in a warm atmosphere of natural, sustainable materials.

It doesn’t sound as though the shops will be ready in time for the 1,000-hp Lucid Air that’s set to debut this September. A few should be prepped in time for its actual launch, which was pushed back on account of the pandemic. Considering the pace at which Lucid was already moving, that may not be the worst thing in the world. There’s a sense that many of these EV startups destroyed themselves by biting off way more than they were ready to chew.

Lucid is one of the few that shows real promise, however, and it seems intent on delivering a genuinely appealing EV at a high-but-competitive price. It’s a fragile ecosystem, and electric cars are extremely vulnerable — and supported primarily by outside investments. Best to play it safe when things seem to be going smoothly.

Image: Lucid Motors

[Images: Lucid Motors]

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8 Comments on “Lucid Motors Plots 20 Storefronts By 2021...”

  • avatar

    going nowhere without retail salespeople.

  • avatar

    What percentage of U.S. adults have driven a “real” electric vehicle? (Am thinking the number is astonishingly small.)

    What percentage of U.S. adults still equate “EV” with “golf cart” or “child’s toy”? (Am thinking the percentage is large.)

    [Side note: Tesla’s double-top-secret-handshake test drive methodology isn’t helping overall awareness of modern EV capability.]

    • 0 avatar

      Does a test-drive/demonstration drive count? I once test drove a Tesla Model S P95+ after a snow storm, had lots of fun though I knew I’d never afford one.

  • avatar

    What storefronts? It is the New America – all storefronts will be boarded up in the end of 2021. Customers will be scared to go out and visit stores especially in big cities. New normal in 2021 America will be: stay at home and do everything online. And Lucid cars should better be bulletproof.

  • avatar

    The follow-up model will be, of course, the Lucid Dream.

    One of the more subtle features of the Lucid is that when your tires wear down, you just paint a new layer onto the wheel and you’re good to go.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lucid has a chance for success.

    Elio, Faraday, Dyson, and Nio never had good plans or any chance of success.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine loves his Journey. I have no idea why. IMHO, it’s not the worst thing out there, but I don’t see anything to love about it at all.

  • avatar

    Lucid just started. It has a long Journey ahead of it, buy Lucid shares as soon as they are available.

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