Lucid shifts to Panasonic batteries, some to be US-made

Some future versions of the Lucid Air and Gravity SUV may make their impressive range claims with U.S.-made batteries.

On Tuesday, Lucid Group and Panasonic Energy Co. confirmed a multi-year agreement that will keep Lucid supplied as it ramps up the rest of the Lucid Air lineup in 2023 and starts production of the Gravity SUV in 2024.

The Panasonic supply headed to Lucid will include lithium-ion cells from a facility in Japan, plus future production from the company’s upcoming plant in De Soto, Kansas, which has been claimed to be the largest battery plant in the world.

Comparing 2170 vs. 1865 - Panasonic

Comparing 2170 vs. 1865 – Panasonic

Lucid already uses cells from LG Chem in some versions of the Air, including the Grand Touring, while it’s used cells from Samsung SDI in its initial Dream Edition versions of the Air. A press release issued by Panasonic Energy and Lucid says that Panasonic batteries will be supplied for Lucid’s “full vehicle line-up,” so it’s unclear which versions might retain cells from those existing suppliers, or whether they might be funneled toward another project—like energy storage products, for instance.

Having U.S.-made battery cells in its vehicles may help Lucid, as it produces more lower-priced vehicles, to qualify for the revamped federal EV tax credit, called the Clean Vehicle Credit, and specifically its new U.S. sourcing requirements. The new credit only applies to cars that cost $55,000 or less, or to SUVs, vans, or pickups that cost $80,000 or less.

Nothing has yet been said about Gravity pricing, but currently, the Air lineup isn’t even close to that. The base Air Pure costs $88,900 today, including the $1,500 destination fee, and it’s hard to imagine the Gravity emerging with a lower price. But later this decade Lucid does intend to bring its efficiency-leading tech to more affordable models.

Lucid Air production

Lucid Air production

The Lucid Air, which remains the longest-range EV on the market, is produced in Casa Grande, Arizona, and the Gravity SUV is due to be produced there as well as part of a plant expansion. Panasonic is a longtime Tesla supplier, and the Kansas plant will reportedly also provide much of its output to Tesla. Canoo is another smaller-scale U.S. EV maker that’s confirmed the use of Panasonic cells, likely from the Kansas plant.

A change of cells for Lucid Air production might not be anything the buyer even notices. As a startup, Lucid’s Atieva group supplied battery packs for Formula E racing and has maintained a deep knowledge base of available cell types, chemistries, and thermal factors.