Is there a proven formula for creating a top-notch engineering organization and benchmark product from scratch? Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson shared his approach at the company’s Newark, Calif, headquarters. “We have a very small team of brilliant engineers that we’ve managed to attract to the company with a vision: to do the best electric vehicle ever,” he explained. “It will be outstanding for your career; it will be stimulating,” he told them. “And they came.”
Rawlinson, who previously led Model S development at Tesla and was top engineer at Jaguar and Lotus before that, used a similar talent pitch at Tesla. The then-obscure startup had just six engineers when Rawlinson joined in 2009. “Peter is the amalgamating leader at Lucid,” noted Eric Bach, the senior VP of product and chief engineer who left Volkswagen to join the Lucid crusade. He said Rawlinson looks for “raw intellect times hours,” meaning drive and desire. “With raw intellect, it doesn’t matter if the other people on the team are from automotive, aerospace, or elsewhere,” Bach explained. “Because it’s all about engineering fundamentals.”
No question that Lucid’s leadership, including senior engineering director Dr. James Hawkins (ex-Aston Martin), design chief Derek Jenkins (Audi, VW, Mazda), and their colleagues squarely nailed the fundamentals for their first production vehicle, the remarkable 2022 Air. The luxury electric sedan, built at Lucid’s Casa Grande, Arizona, plant, is impressing customers with its industry-leading range (516 miles/830 km per charge), its blend of speed, agility, and mile-eating comfort, and its innovative technologies.