Saudis make $1B investment for electric cars by 2020

Saudi Arabia put a $1 billion charge into Lucid Motors Monday by investing in the electric car maker.

Lucid Motors received a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia Monday that will get the Lucid Air electric vehicle through to commercialization by 2020. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA
Lucid Motors received a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia Monday that will get the Lucid Air electric vehicle through to commercialization by 2020. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA

Through the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the investment will fund the complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, the company’s first electric-powered vehicle, construct a factory in Casa Grande, Ariz., and begin sales in North America by 2020.

Lucid and the PIF said they plan to work together to expedite the process of bringing Lucid’s vehicles to market.

The Lucid Air is a 100 percent electric luxury automobile that will compete with Tesla.

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“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized,” said Lucid CTO Peter Rawlings. “This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward.”

“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development,and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a PIF spokesperson said.

This isn’t the oil-rich kingdom’s first foray into investing in electric cars. Riyadh is also a major investor in Tesla and owns about 5 percent of the company.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk sought after the Saudi investment in August, saying that would enable him to take Tesla private. He later decided against it.

The sometimes volatile Tesla stock fell in early Monday trading on the Lucid news. By the middle of the day, the price had recovered.

California-based Tesla has been plagued with delays on delivering the mass-market Model 3. Ramping up production on that vehicle will make the company profitable, Musk has said.

ByNicholas Sakelaris and Ray Downs