Tesla Inc’s CEO Elon Musk has signed up as an adviser to fledgling startup Lucid Motors, a previous backer of the Palo Alto-based company that unveiled a super-high-performance plug-in hybrid sedan last month.
Musk disclosed on Twitter that he would be working for the two-year-old firm, which plans to raise $50 million in a series A round of funding that would then be followed by up to $600 million. He did not mention the valuation of the company in a subsequent tweet.
“We are both tremendously excited to have Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX join our team,” Lucid’s co-founder and chief executive Brian Lee told Reuters. “He is one of the key people whose advice I would rely on, and he has been for some time.”
The charismatic entrepreneur is increasingly managing his own vehicle start-ups after Tesla stumbled to a production slowdown of its Model 3 sedan.
Lucid’s super-light battery-powered sedan costs $70,000 before including a $7,500 federal tax credit and a price tag that draws comparisons to Tesla’s Model S sedan, which also costs about $70,000. But the new vehicle has similar design and drive characteristics and a top speed of about 200 miles per hour.
Musk has described the car as “game-changing”.
Lucid unveiled the car on 16 July in a splashy showpiece event in Las Vegas, drawing about 200 journalists from around the world to its event centre. The sedan had a “rotating red ring”, resembling a spinning cockroach, on its nose with charging stations all around.
Musk showed up hours later and admitted that parts of the event were “really cool, but the things I don’t understand were really confusing.”
Tesla declined to comment.
The wisdom of the timing remains hotly debated. If Lucid succeeds, it could intensify a Silicon Valley-versus-Detroit manufacturing rivalry.
Tesla has struggled to put the Model 3 on the road, delaying the car’s highly anticipated delivery by more than a year to late 2019.
Tesla’s shares ended Wednesday up 1.6% at $276.99 on the Nasdaq, far ahead of the broader market.