When the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) received a call from California’s Lucid Motors in August 2023 – it wasn’t by accident.


The DRP had been nurturing the relationship for nearly a year and a half. The EV company was considering potential locations for a new engineering hub as it prepped to debut the luxury electric SUV, Lucid Gravity, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.


“Deals like this don’t fall in your lap, they require sustained engagement and relationship building over time,” said Justin Robinson, executive vice president of economic development for the DRP. “As Lucid saw the breadth of engineering talent in the Detroit Region the project started gaining momentum and grew in scope. We were communicating with them just about every week, sometimes many times a week.”


That relationship paid off this month as Lucid announced it was bringing its new engineering center and corporate offices to Southfield, which is expected to create more than 260 jobs and $10 million in capital investment. The job numbers had increased more than three-fold since Lucid had first engaged the DRP and Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in April 2022.


The technology in the latest EVs is going to blow people’s minds, and Lucid is really pushing the innovation envelope with the Gravity. This is exactly the kind of company we want to add to our automotive and mobility sector. As they innovate, they will grow, expand their footprint, create more jobs, and attract other innovators; strengthening our position as the Global Epicenter of Mobility.


Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership


The DRP’s business development team served as lead liaison and had been working behind the scenes on and off providing data about the Detroit Region’s specialized engineering talent. The team highlighted how that engineering talent would be a perfect fit for a company, “that will redefine the SUV in the electric age with the best technology in the world,” as Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said during the Gravity reveal at the Los Angeles auto show.


As the courting of Lucid accelerated, the DRP coordinated three meetings between company officials, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in three different states when travel schedules aligned. The meetings gave both sides a clear understand what was needed to bring the deal into reality.


“Connecting Lucid with everyone involved from the local officials all the way up to the Governor sent a very powerful message about our commitment this project and the cohesion between all the partners involved,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the DRP.


The DRP also helped negotiate an incentives package including a $6-million Michigan Business Development Program grant from the MEDC,  which was approved at the Feb. 27 Michigan Strategic Fund meeting.


Continued collaboration between the DRP, MEDC, and Oakland County paved the way for Lucid to identify Southfield as the site for the engineering center rather than locating near its current facilities in Arizona and California, or selecting another metro area like Dallas.


“We don’t beat out those other states and land this engineering center without all of our partners working in lockstep to show Lucid the advantages of coming here and then putting together a compelling incentives package,” said Robinson. “Our partners deserve a lot of credit.”


Landing Lucid brings one of EV’s emerging innovators into the Detroit Region’s mobility ecosystem. Originally launched as Atieva in 2007, Lucid has become a leader in EV powertrain and charging technology. Its Wunderbox, branded as the fastest EV charging system available, purportedly fills up to 200 miles of charge in 12 minutes and works at most public charging stations.


“The technology in the latest EVs is going to blow people’s minds, and Lucid is really pushing the innovation envelope with its electric powertrains and the performance it delivers,” said Krauss.


In fact, Lucid recently announced a deal to provide its electric powertrain technology to Aston Martin, helping boost the iconic British brand’s long-term EV strategy, and strengthening its position as a global leader in the EV industry.


“This is just the type of company we want to add to our mobility ecosystem,” said Krauss. “As they innovate, they will grow, and expand their footprint and create more jobs here in the Global Epicenter of Mobility.”


Offering an estimated range of over 440 miles, the Gravity is designed to deliver luxury SUV performance and builds off the company’s work on the Lucid Air, an EV sedan that earned MotorTrend Car of the Year award in 2022 among other industry awards.