Saudi in­vests $1bn in elec­tric car maker

Fund­ing will sup­port launch of Lu­cid Mo­tor’s Air elec­tric ve­hi­cle in 2020

Utilities Middle East - - NEWS -

Saudi Ara­bia’s Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund (PIF) has agreed to in­vest more than $1 bil­lion in Lu­cid Mo­tors, adding to the emerg­ing com­pe­ti­tion fac­ing US elec­tric ve­hi­cle maker Tesla Inc.

The fund­ing will en­able Sil­i­con Val­ley-based Lu­cid to achieve the com­mer­cial launch of its Lu­cid Air elec­tric ve­hi­cle in 2020, PIF said in an an­nounce­ment last month. Lu­cid joins Daim­ler-owned Mercedes, BMW and Volk­swa­gen’s Audi and Porsche di­vi­sions in the bat­tle for dom­i­nance in the mar­ket for pre­mium bat­tery cars.

In Au­gust, Tesla founder Elon Musk said the Saudi sov­er­eign wealth fund could help him to take his com­pany pri­vate.

The Lu­cid in­vest­ment, which PIF said is more than $1 bil­lion but did not give an ex­act fig­ure, is also part of Saudi Ara­bia’s plan to build an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly econ­omy, to di­ver­sify the king­dom away from reliance on crude oil.

“They’re not just a fi­nan­cial part­ner they’re a strate­gic part­ner,” said Lu­cid chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer Peter Rawl­in­son.

“It’s all the cap­i­tal we need for three things: to con­tinue the de­vel­op­ment of the car, to con­struct the fac­tory in Ari­zona, and to ini­ti­ate the roll­out of our global re­tail strat­egy and that will com­mence in the US be­cause that’s our first mar­ket,” he said.

The com­pany might plan to sell into China or build SUVs at a later date, Rawl­in­son said.

He said the com­pany con­ceived it­self as be­ing less of a di­rect com­peti­tor to Tesla than with lux­ury gaso­line car mak­ers such as Audi or BMW.

Ob­tain­ing cheap cap­i­tal is a con­stant chal­lenge for car­mak­ers, which can spend $1 bil­lion or more en­gi­neer­ing a sin­gle new model.

Mo­bil­ityEVs gain­ing wide adop­tion in Saudi Ara­bia

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