Would-Be Tesla Rival Lucid Motors Inks Battery Supply Pact With Samsung SDI
December 8, 2016, 3:14 pm

Lucid Motors, a week after announcing plans for a $700 million auto factory in Arizona to produce its high-end, 1,000-horsepower electric sport sedan, is partnering with Samsung SDI as its key supplier of lithium-ion battery cells.

The companies said in a joint statement that they are collaborating on “next-generation cylindrical cells that are able to exceed current performance benchmarks in areas such as energy density, power, calendar life and safety.” The cells are also being designed to withstand frequent rapid charging, which typically degrades conventional lithium-ion batteries.

“The breakthrough battery life demonstrated by the new cell from Samsung SDI will be of tangible benefit to our customers, particularly companies with ride-sharing services operating around the clock,” Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s chief technology officer, said in the statement.

Prior to his work creating a high-tech electric sedan for Lucid, which changed its name from Atieva in October, Rawlinson was chief engineer for Tesla Motors and instrumental in the development of its Model S electric sedan. If Lucid can raise the funds necessary to build its factory and complete development work on its midsize luxury model, deliveries are to begin in late 2018.



Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The arrangement with a fledgling U.S. carmaker is a bit of positive news for Samsung SDI, part of South Korea’s massive Samsung Electronics group. Samsung has been rocked for months by reports of overheating Galaxy Note 7 smartphones linked to lithium-ion cells. That’s cost it billions of dollars and hurt the company’s reputation as the world’s largest smartphone maker.

Menlo Park, California-based Lucid Motors, aims to compete with Tesla and other luxury brands with an all-electric sport sedan capable of driving as far as 400 miles per charge and accelerating from 0 to 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds. Its prototype car is smaller than a Tesla Model S, but has an interior that’s similarly roomy.

Rawlinson said in a November interview that the company would begin a new fundraising round in the first half of 2017 to complete work on its first model and to begin construction of its plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.

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