At a panel on Monday, leaders from Lucid Motors, the state, and Casa Grande discussed how they have worked together to develop an ecosystem attractive to advanced manufacturers like Lucid as well as other manufacturers producing exciting products and generating good jobs.
Steven David, the senior vice president of operations for Lucid, told an audience at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry forum that Casa Grande’s strategic location has proven to be a “hidden gem,” offering key logistical links where Interstate 8 meets Interstate 10, as well as rail access.
As a result, Casa Grande is now turning out what David calls, “Arguably the best technology and the best car in the world.”
Now, Lucid is preparing to produce its newest vehicle, Gravity, an SUV. Gravity made its global debut at last November’s L.A. Auto Show. Gravity was on display at the state Capitol on Tuesday, giving visitors a chance to check out its technology and cutting-edge design.
Sandra Watson, CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, which was integral in bringing the company to the state, said, “Lucid is one of the most exciting projects we have in Arizona.”
Watson said projects like Lucid are highly competitive, but that Arizona and the ACA worked to ensure Arizona had “the best value proposition,” with access to a supply chain that included Arizona’s neighboring Mexican state of Sonora.
That supply chain is developing quickly. She said UACJ Whitehall’s investment in Flagstaff, that city’s biggest in 50 years, is a critical supplier for the automotive industry, and that Arizona has also announced eight battery manufacturing projects, producing batteries that could find their way not only into Lucid vehicles but other manufacturers’ as well.
ACA has also helped to stand up Drive 48, a collaboration with Central Arizona College to prepare students to enter the field of electric vehicle manufacturing.
By fostering partnerships with educational institutions, Lucid is investing in the development of a dynamic and skilled workforce, which David said will benefit the broader economy.
Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland said the global reach of ACA helps cities like his, which offer assets like highways, rail, and land, compete for projects that they otherwise would not.
State Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, commended the collaboration at all levels of government that has transformed Pinal County into a thriving jobs hub. He touted the news that Arizona had secured federal funding to expand I-10 between Chandler and Casa Grande, which will make commuting to and from Lucid safer and promote greater freight mobility.