Lucid Motors, the ‘other’ American automotive company specializing in electric cars is ready to do battle with Tesla. Lucid’s CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson is no stranger to Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk. In fact, Rawlinson worked for Musk back in 2009 and made surprising claims in a recent interview with Bloomberg.
Rawlinson’s version of the story goes something like this:
In 2009, Tesla model manager Dave Morris called engineer Peter Rawlinson because he needed help with the Model S prototype. Subsequently, Rawlinson joined Tesla and says he actually developed the Model S, which later became the most successful electric sedan on the market.
In his first week at Tesla, he met with Musk and explained how bad the Model S prototype was and that Musk should scrap the idea, which he did, thus allowing Rawlinson to completely re-engineer the first Tesla prototype. Three years later, the Model S was in production. Today, Rawlinson says his name still exists on more than 70 patents associated with the car.
Today, Musk took to his usual platform Twitter, and offered his thoughts on Rawlinson’s interview:
Rawlinson didn’t design Model S. Prototype was done before he joined & he left us in the lurch just as things got tough, which was not cool. He did make some contributions to body/chassis engineering, but not to powertrain, battery, electronics or software.
Rawlinson’s interview comes as Lucid prepares to launch its own electric sedan, the Lucid Air, which is supposed to have more range and power than the Model S. The launch will be done via a live public stream on 9 September at 4 PM PST.
Some details of the car have been revealed such as a 517-mile range, 113kWh battery pack, 1,080 horsepower, best-in-industry peak charging rates, V2G charging features, and luxurious car interior. These specifications annihilate the Model S with its 503 horsepower and 348 miles.
The Lucid Air system is also said to have voice-recognition software to respond to natural speech patterns with the interface’s virtual assistant that learns the driver’s preferred music and climate settings.
But nothing is in production at this stage and reported to become available next spring in 2021. The price range for the different Air models starts below $100k for the ‘Touring’ model, around $130k for the ‘Grand Touring’ model, and about $150k for the new Lucid Air.
Rawlinson is a big personality, which seems to be the prerequisite for generating excitement on an electric car launch. The charismatic and eccentric CEO is drawing a lot of attention ahead of his launch within the EV industry.
But Tesla has Elon Musk. A South African-American billionaire, a father of six boys who has a pixie-punk girlfriend, and who has visions of a brain chip and occupying Mars. That’s an act, which is hard to beat.
So, who is Peter Rawlinson? Well, he has an impressive resume having studied engineering in London, and who previously worked at Jaguar, Lotus, and of course Tesla.
When quizzed about his current friendship status with Musk, Rawlinson remained vague saying, “I’m saving the dish for my book.” And then added, “Let’s just say Elon is paying very close attention to what we are doing here.” So, does that mean Rawlinson intends to publish his memoirs with a bunch of gossip on Musk?
It also seems the Lucid CEO doesn’t put the Air in the same category as the Tesla Model S, instead, he feels his new electric sedan is for those who have an S-Class Mercedes. Rawlinson said,
Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been that interested in electric. Tesla has piqued my interest, I love what Tesla is doing with electric, but I’m not getting out of my Mercedes for a Model S.
To quote Musk in his latest tweet, à la guerre comme à la guerre, which means In war, as in war.