Aston Martin Plans 4 New Electric Models, Will Use Motors Supplied By Lucid

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There aren’t many CleanTechnica readers planning to buy an Aston Martin. Aston Martin’s ultra-high-performance cars look terrific in James Bond movies, but are OMG expensive to the point that they are out of reach of mere mortals. This week, company CEO Lawrence Stroll, who made his money in the apparel business in Canada, announced at a press conference that Aston Martin is working on a new electric car platform that will serve as the basis of four new electric cars, one of which may be a coupe style SUV. All of them will use powertrains — motors, transmissions, and batteries — supplied by Lucid.

Aston Martin
Does this look like an SUV to you? Courtesy of Aston Martin.

[Side note: Calling a car a coupe-like SUV is idiotic on its face. An SUV is supposed to be capable of hauling lots of stuff, much of it bulky. A coupe by definition has a low, swooping roofline that makes carrying a bunch of stuff impossible. But the motoring public is cuckoo for SUVs. In theory, if you call something and SUV, people will buy it. If you don’t, they won’t. The kicker is that proper SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade have poor aerodynamics, which is the last thing you want in an electric car. So the new electric cars from Aston Martin will be coupe-like SUVs. Just don’t dare call them hatchbacks!]

The big news here is that, for years, Aston Martin did not make its own powertrains. Instead, it sourced all the oily bits from Mercedes AMG. It’s no coincidence that the Aston Martin Formula One team also uses Mercedes power. And so it was a double shock to Mercedes to learn that Lucid will be Aston Martin’s supplier of choice for its new lineup of electric cars. That news comes after the Aston Martin F1 announced recently that it will source its race engines from Honda starting in 2026, making this latest news a double humiliation for Mercedes.

Lucid fancies its Air sedan as a competitor to the mighty Mercedes EQS (Mercedes would never admit it is any such thing), and Aston Martin would like to think its new electrics are rivals to the EQS as well. We’ll see how that turns out. The new cars from Aston Martin won’t be on the road until 2025 at the earliest.

Courtesy of Lucid

Lucid Has Lofty Goals

The Lucid powertrain will feature its high-power motors and advanced battery technology, both of which operate on 924 volts, which makes high power and fast charging possible. The top-of-the-line Lucid Air features 3 motors with a total of 1200 horsepower. The news from Aston Martin is that at least some of its upcoming electric models may use four Lucid motors, which in theory should combine for a total of 1600 horsepower. [That’s 1200 kW, for you lovers of the metric system.]

The unspoken connection here is that both Lucid and Aston Martin F1 are financed by Saudi Arabia, which is desperate to polish its image on the world stage after the Jamal Khashoggi affair that made the term “bone saw” part of the popular lexicon. The F1 team is known officially as Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant. Aramco, of course, is the large state-owned Saudi oil and gas company. The largest shareholder in Lucid is the Public Investment Fund, which is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

According to AutoEvolution, Lucid would dearly love to establish itself as a luxury car company, not just another BEV maker. All its communication efforts have been focused on dismissing any comparison with Tesla while also humiliating the world’s most valuable car company by beating it with impressive technical specifications. Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson says he was the the chief engineer for the Tesla Model S when it was being prepped for production. Elon Musk disagrees. It is fair to say he doesn’t like Elon Musk and the feeling is mutual. Lucid repeats over and over that its main competitor is the EQS, not the Tesla Model S.

The association with Aston Martin may help Lucid learn a thing or two about the ultra-luxury segment of the automobile market. In addition to whatever income Lucid may derive from selling components to Aston Martin, it also reportedly now holds a 3.7% stake in the UK-based company. Its association with Aston Martin could also spark some interest in Lucid developing a high-performance electric sports car of its own. But the biggest payoff for Lucid, according to AutoEvolution, is the burnishing of its reputation. Having its name affiliated with Aston Martin is a signal to the rest of the industry that Lucid has arrived and should be considered a world-class supplier of first-quality automotive technology.

“Aston Martin had options and they chose quite independently what they felt is the best technology available on the planet,” Rawlinson told Reuters last week. He added that licensing parts could be a significant part of its business model and help the company move toward manufacturing more models for the broader market. It plans a model that will compete with the Tesla Model 3 in the second half of the decade.

A growing business supplying technology to others would help Lucid, which, like rival firms, has been struggling with mounting losses, tightening cash reserves, and a price war sparked by Tesla. “Do we ever want to make a $25,000 car because that’s what it’s going to take to change the world? I’m not sure if we want to be in that business, but licensing our tech to a company that could do that makes more sense,” Rawlinson said.

The Takeaway

Despite the gloss being put on the deal between Aston Martin and Lucid, the truth of the matter is that, absent the support from Saudi Arabia, both companies could find themselves circling the drain if they can’t figure out how to become profitable in the near future. Having a sugar daddy backer is a wonderful thing, but their mutual sponsor won’t wait forever for a return on its investment. The clock is ticking for both Aston Martin and Lucid, and Lawrence Stroll and Peter Rawlinson both know it.

Lucid has developed some amazing technology when it comes to powering an electric car, but its sales have not kept pace with its aspirations, something every startup company has to face. Aston Martin has been in business for a century, but that is not a guarantee it will continue in business. It has struggled to sell anything but sports cars for years. It will take more than product placement opportunities in 007 movies to keep it alive.

Despite all the happy talk about the deal the two companies have struck, both CEOs know this better work. The EV revolution is powering ahead quickly and it won’t wait for companies like Aston Martin and Lucid to get their sums right. It’s a delicate dance they are doing, and we wish them well with their new partnership.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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