It is confirmed, PIF, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, who Elon Musk had banked on to help him taking Tesla private, is investing in Lucid Motors. The sheiks are ready to spend over a billion dollars to launch the Air EV.
Different from previous plans though, Lucid Motors first electric car is now scheduled to launch in 2020 and not in 2019. Funding can be considered secure now that the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia has confirmed their investment. The one billion dollars (£759.7 / €855.5 million) will help build Lucid Motors’ factory in Arizona and also to complete testing, according to a press release.
The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) also holds about 5 percent in Tesla worth an estimated three billion dollars and was reportedly in talks to help Elon Musk to take the company private. While those plans have since been cancelled, PIF has come to an agreement with Lucid Motors.
A spokesperson for PIF said: “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.”
While one billion dollar sounds like a lot, the fund is worth an estimated 250 billion dollars and clearly out to diversify its oil-heavy portfolio a little. The authorities still have to approve the transaction.
For Lucid Motors the money is crucial in order to drive their electric vehicle forward which are behind schedule. Initially, the electric carmaker had wanted to present a production version in 2018. The launch of the Air has then been pushed to 2019 and now 2020.
Once the lines in Arizona will be ready to roll, the target is to churn out 10,000 units of the electric sedan a year. Production is to increase six fold to 60,000 units later, that is about half of the maximum capacity of 130,000 electric cars the plant can produce annually (we reported).