Electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors announced this week that it would build its first auto plant in Arizona.
The California-based company, which formed as Atieva in 2007 and announced its new name in October, selected a location in Casa Grande — about 40 miles south of Phoenix — out of 60 potential sites across 13 states.
The company plans to break ground and begin hiring early next year. Production of its first model will begin in 2018. More than 2,000 full-time employees are expected to be working at the site by 2022.
Incentives provided by the Arizona Commerce Authority to Lucid could amount to millions in government assistance for the factory, the Associated Press reported.
“Lucid Motors is building the luxury automobile of the future, and we have an opportunity to become the global leader in automotive technology,” Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson said in a statement. “We are confident Arizona is the ideal location to advance our innovations and will continue to provide an excellent platform for our success.”
Details of the company's first electric sedan, set to be unveiled in December, surfaced last month in documents obtained by Recode.
Lucid officials hope to challenge Tesla Motors — which employed both Rawlinson and Atieva founder Bernard Tse — for electric vehicle supremacy, but questions abound about the company's direction.
Tse reportedly left the company this spring amid disagreements with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, which owned a 25 percent stake in the company. The Guardian reported that BAIC subsequently sold its stake — the largest in the company — to Jia Yueting, the Chinese billionaire backing fellow electric vehicle startup Faraday Future.
Faraday plans to open its own auto factory near Las Vegas, but construction is currently on hold due to financial problems with Jia's tech conglomerate LeEco.