Electric Vehicles Are Hot for Arizona

Showrooms and manufacturing facilities strengthen the industry here

by RaeAnne Marsh

There was a time when going to the mall meant shopping for clothes and home knick-knacks – offering a lot of choices thanks to there being a number of stores conveniently in one place. Now, it can mean shopping for one of an individual’s biggest purchases: a car.

Electric vehicles are making this merchandizing move. Scottsdale Fashion Square boasts a collection of three manufacturers.

Tesla was first, a few years ago, showing off its vehicles in its showroom in the heavy traffic aisle by Nordstrom across from the Microsoft Store. 

Earlier this year, Polestar eagerly added its presence, opening a pop-up stand by the food court while waiting for its permanent space to be completed by the expected date in October. And Scott Gruwell, president and CEO of Courtesy Automotive Group — to which the Swedish manufacturer awarded the only Polestar franchise in Arizona — noted at the time, “Unlike many of our competitors, we have Polestar 2’s to drive home today or we can customize one for you and have it delivered in two weeks. Our non-commissioned Polestar specialists at the mall make learning about the Polestar a snap and they also help make doing the entire transaction online easy.” 

And this past August, Lucid Motors launched its first-in-Arizona Lucid Studio in a prominent spot at the foot of the stairs leading to Harkins Theatres — with a grand front door showing off one model and a lengthy expanse of windows opening to view what looks quite like an electronics store. Which, it could be argued, it in fact is — with the feel of an upscale lounge.

“It’s all about discovery,” says Lucid’s public policy lead Daniel Witt. One of the studio’s most innovative features is the virtual reality front-seat car section, which offers customers and browsers a chance to actually sit in a Lucid Air and virtually experience a little road trip while immersed in different choices of interior finishes. 

Some of the other aspects of Lucid’s electric vehicle are there to experience physically, such as “hefting” the amazingly lightweight, compact motor that powers it and viewing the large storage space in the trunk and the “frunk” — since the motor is nestled under the car’s mid-carriage where it is situated to ensure the car’s balanced weight.

Purchase of the Lucid Air is accomplished online and, once the backlog is cleared of reservations from people who ordered their cars before Lucid’s factory in Casa Grande was completed, production time on new orders is approximately two months.

Addressing supply chain concerns, Witt says Lucid is pioneering electric vehicle supply chain in the state. “We’re bringing key suppliers to us.”

In fact, Arizona is enjoying significant growth in this industry sector. 

In September, KORE Power, Inc. and Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc., two leading U.S. clean energy innovators who are both based here in the Valley, announced they would be working together to design, develop and manufacture low-cost, highly configurable electric vehicle solutions that accelerate electrification of the transportation sector.

KORE is a U.S.-based manufacturer of high-energy-density lithium-ion pouch cells and module configurations for the electric vehicle and energy sector applications. ZEV is also a U.S.-based manufacturer of electric powertrain solutions for fleet customers with a commercially available low-cost, fast-turnaround configuration for light-to-medium duty fleet vehicles. ZEV is rapidly innovating EV thermal technologies including an advanced battery cell passive thermal management system that will deliver power conservation and optimize battery cell performance. 

“This is a partnership for advancing clean transportation,” says Lindsay Gorrill, KORE CEO. “KORE and ZEV bring new levels of ingenuity to the electric vehicle space. Working together at our facilities in Arizona, we’ll make the U.S. a launchpad to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electrification to the world with price parity.”  

As the first greenfield, dedicated electric vehicle factory in North America, Lucid’s innovative AMP-1 in Casa Grande, Ariz., was designed with a future-ready focus that allows for additional phases of expansion at the site, including production of the brand’s first SUV under the name Project Gravity in 2023. The second phase of expansion is already underway, which will add 2.7 million square feet. In its final form, AMP-1 will be 5.1 million square feet with a manufacturing capacity of up to 365,000 units per year. 

And as this November edition goes to press, Lucid Group announces the initial customer deliveries of the Dream Edition launch versions of Lucid Air to the first group of Dream Edition reservation holders on October 30.

Photos courtesy of Lucid Motors

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