Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to invest more than US$1 billion in California-based electric car startup Lucid Motors.
The funding will enable the American firm to achieve the commercial launch of its Lucid Air electric vehicle in 2020, Reuters reports, citing an announcement from PIF on Monday.
The Saudi backing will strengthen the hand of Lucid, making the US firm another potential competitor to Tesla in the market for premium battery cars.
“They’re not just a financial partner they’re a strategic partner,” Lucid Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson told Reuters.
“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 U.S. 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.
A PIF representative said that by investing in the 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.”
Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 as Atieva by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla vice president and board member, and Sam Weng, a former executive at Oracle Corp and Redback Networks.
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