Savvy investors are keeping a sharp eye on the electric vehicle (EV) market right now, especially as global sales of EVs are expected to grow from less than seven million in 2021 to 66 million by 2040.
Because of this rapid growth, it's worth keeping tabs on some of the leading EV companies, including Lucid Group (LCID -1.95%). Lucid may not get as much attention as rivals Tesla or Rivian, but there are a few important things you should know about Lucid if you're interested in the broader EV market.
1. Vehicle production has been a bear
Lucid's management had high hopes for its 2022 production goals. The company originally estimated that it would make 22,000 vehicles this year, but (stop me if you've heard this before) supply chain issues have thrown a wrench into the company's plans.
Lucid's management has revised its production guidance downward not once but twice and now estimates that it will only build between 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles this year.
"Our revised production guidance reflects the extraordinary supply chain and logistics challenges we encountered," Lucid's CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson recently said.
The slowdown has resulted in Lucid producing just 1,405 vehicles in the first six months of this year.
2. Saudi Arabia is a major investor
While Lucid is a publicly traded company, the government of Saudi Arabia is by far its largest shareholder with an estimated 62% stake in the company.
Lucid received about $3 billion in initial investments from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, and the company continues to have close ties to the country.
Lucid is currently building its second vehicle production factory, called AMP-2, in Saudi Arabia, and it will have an eventual production capacity of 155,000 vehicles per year. The expected completion of the factory is early 2023.
Additionally, the Saudi Arabian government recently said it would buy at least 50,000 Lucid vehicles over the next decade, with the option to purchase up to 100,000 over the period.
3. Lucid has plenty of cash right now
As a young EV automaker that's spending lots of money to build new factories and get production ramped up, Lucid isn't profitable right now.
The company had a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net loss of $220 million in the recent quarter, which was a slight improvement from its loss of $261 million in the year-ago quarter.
But the good news is that Lucid has plenty of cash for its operations right now. The EV maker ended the second quarter with $4.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents, which Lucid's management said provides the company with "sufficient liquidity well into 2023."
4. Its vehicles have garnered significant positive attention
Lucid just went public in mid-2021 and delivered its first vehicles to customers less than a year ago. And yet the company has already received significant accolades from the automotive industry.
Most notably, Motor Trend named the Lucid Air sedan its 2022 Car of the Year, beating out 24 competitors.
Not only is it an impressive win for the company, but it was also the first time that a new automaker's initial product ever won the award.
"Earning this coveted distinction for Lucid Air, our very first car, is a resounding endorsement of our ability to deliver the most advanced electric vehicles in the world," Rawlinson said in response to Lucid's win.
5. Lucid sells vehicles directly to customers
If you know a little bit about the automotive market, then you know that traditional carmakers are very reliant on their dealership networks to sell their vehicles.
But the EV industry is flipping the script on this model, and companies like Tesla use galleries to teach potential customers about its vehicles. Consumers can then go online to make a purchase directly from the company.
Lucid's vehicle sales happen the same way. The company calls its galleries "studios" and has a total of 28 of them, mostly in the US. Lucid opened its first European studio in Munich, Germany in Q2.
The studio model appears to be working very well for the company; Lucid currently has 37,000 vehicle reservations right now.
The EV race is just beginning
Lucid's share price, along with that of many other EV makers, has plummeted as investors have shunned high-growth companies amid rising inflation fears of a potential recession. Year to date, Lucid's stock is down 57%.
That doesn't mean that Lucid is a bad long-term investment, but investors who are considering buying Lucid right now should understand that the company hasn't produced a lot of vehicles yet and is facing significant production headwinds right now.
But with EV sales expected to account for two-thirds of all global vehicle sales over the next two decades, it's certainly worth keeping a close eye on this company.