July 26, 2021

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Tesla Rival Lucid To Advertise Electric Air Sedan On NBC As Elon Musk Hosts SNL

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Lucid Motors, a startup electric-car maker led by a former Tesla chief engineer, will promote its battery-powered Air luxury sedan in a television commercial on NBC that’s to run during Saturday Night Live when Tesla CEO Elon Musk hosts the comedy show.  

The Newark, California-based company, which begins production of the Air in the second half of 2021, shared its plan on Twitter, Musk’s preferred communications medium, on Friday. 

“Guess who is making an appearance during #SNL tomorrow?” the company said. The spot will likely run during the first block of television ads following Musk’s monologue after the show’s opening. Andrew Hussey, a Lucid spokesman, declined to provide additional details. 

Led by Peter Rawlinson, a veteran auto engineer who worked for Jaguar and Lotus before joining Tesla to help develop its breakthrough Model S electric sedan, Lucid is preparing to list shares (either on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq) in the weeks ahead, as it also gets ready to start vehicle production at its new plant in Casa Grande, Arizona. Initial units of the Air will be top-of-the-range “Dream” versions, priced at about $169,000, offering an industry-leading 517 miles of range per charge, faster recharging and ability to go from 0 mph to 60 mph in just over 2 seconds. Versions of the car costing about $70,000 are due in 2022.

Oddly, Musk claimed on Twitter this week that “Rawlinson was never chief engineer,” a statement easily disproven by past Tesla press releases, including an April 20, 2010 statement announcing his hiring as Tesla’s “Vice President and Chief Vehicle Engineer,” and the memories of reporters covering the company in its early days (including this one). 

During the Model S development process from 2010 into 2012, Rawlinson gave briefings on the car and was well-known to the media as its chief engineer. An investor deck from 2010 filed with the SEC, when Tesla announced plans for an initial public offering, also named Rawlinson the company’s “VP & Chief Engineer.” No one else was identified in the slide with that title.  

Lucid had no direct comment on Musk’s tweet.

“Peter’s focus is on putting the world’s best EV into production, a car with over 500 miles of range that delivers new benchmarks in efficiency, power, range, performance, charge rate and luxury,” the company said in a statement.

(For more on Peter Rawlinson and Lucid, see Elon Musk’s Ex-Chief Engineer Creates A New Car–And Says It Beats Tesla)

The choice of Musk—cofounder of Tesla  TSLA  and the world’s third richest person worth an estimated $166 billion—to host the long-running comedy show has created a stir, not least because of his lack of improv comedy and live performance skills.

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