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Yet, another Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, EV startup may be in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s crosshairs. Lucid Group has just been subpoenaed for documents related to the SEC’s investigation into the blank-check deal. The Lucid SPAC was done with Churchill Capital Group and was completed in early 2021. 

Lucid followed the same means for acquiring capital as has Nikola Group, Lordstown Motors, and Fisker. This has become the go-to avenue for startups with no products and in many cases no assembly plants or infrastructure. These shell entities are under much heavier scrutiny as of late by the SEC. “Ever since the statements made by Nikola’s founder and former CEO resulted in three federal criminal fraud charges, new EV manufacturers were bound to face greater scrutiny,” CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson told Reuters.

Is Lucid even making cars yet?

This is the 2022 Lucid Air, the winner of MotorTrend's Car of the Year award. | Lucid
MotorTrend’s Car of the Year won for engineering. | Lucid

Lucid has indicated it will complete 20,000 next year, and 50,000 in 2023. Its initial capital came through China via automaker BAIC Motor and LeEco, a technology company. After completing its SPAC the pro-forma equity value was $24 billion. 

Sometimes, these proformas leave out certain charges that could negatively affect the projections. Again, this is in spite of not making a product or taking in revenue. 

“The problem is a lot of these companies that have taken this approach are not far enough along to really be considered a viable company,” Sam Abuelsamid at Guidehouse Insights says. “The investigation appears to concern the business combination between the Company (Churchill Capital Corp. IV) and Atieva Inc, and certain projections and statements,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

Is Lucid headed to where Lordstown and Nikola are at?

White 2022 Lucid Air, which has the longest EV driving range, parked near a modern house
2022 Lucid Air | Lucid

Nikola has accessed a penalty, while founder Trevor Milton faces charges over statements he made affecting the company’s stock values. Lordstown is still under investigation over the details of its SPAC merger, and also over vehicle pre-orders. Now, the SEC just announced it is also investigating Tesla over its solar panel defects and risks. 

As for Lucid, it says it is beginning to deliver its Air sedans to customers. But that is nothing compared to the number of vehicles Ford Motor Company makes. Yet, Lucid is valued higher than Ford

It is eeking out a few sedans from a limited capacity operation. There are no offshoots or variations of its electric platform. One product, limited production, and a six-figure asking price. 

Lucid did win the Motor Trend 2022 Car of the Year award

Maroon 2022 Lucid Air, which has the longest EV driving range, with a city skyline in the background
2022 Lucid Air | Lucid

And, it has won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, in spite of having no car at all. Many liken it to being the next Tesla, or better than Tesla. The same can be said for the Fisker vehicle. Freewheeling speculation is just a part of all of the craziness surrounding EV manufacturers and Wall Street. 

But after years and years of development and speculation, it is getting to the time when these startups must start producing vehicles. Many are new to the capital-intensive ways of car manufacturing. Others, like Fisker, have one vehicle startup under their belt. 

However, that didn’t turn out well at all. EV truck maker Rivian is having a shaky manufacturing start but says it is delivering to customers right now. Ford and GM will have EV trucks on the market in 2022. Both can scale up rapidly to meet production, so it will be interesting to see where all of this EV mojo will be by this time next year.