Saudi fund invests $1B in Tesla electric auto rival Lucid Motors

Saudi wealth fund plunges $1bn into Tesla rival Lucid

Lucid Motors today announced that it has agreed to accept a $1 billion investment from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.

Newark, California-based Lucid Motors had raised a total of $131 million in funding prior to the PIF's investment, according to Crunchbase.com.

The news that the fund is seeking an investment in Lucid confirms that the Saudis are interested in investing in an electric carmaker to diversify their oil holdings at a time when electric cars are poised to make a serious dent in demand for oil. Had Tesla made a decision to go private last month as Elon Musk teased, this likely wouldn't have materialized.

The Saudi investment will give the automaker the resources to build a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, to build the Lucid Air, finish development work, and begin selling the vehicle in 2020, Lucid said.

The funding, which will be made through a special-purpose vehicle wholly owned by PIF, will be used by Lucid to complete development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct a factory in Arizona and start up production of the auto.

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"At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward", said Mr Rawlinson.

The deal would give Lucid the funding to take it through to the commercial launch of the Silicon Valley-based start-up's first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020, the Public Investment Fund said in a statement. The range-topping version is expected to offer as much as 1,000 hp and 400 miles.

Lucid issued a statement quoting Peter Rawlinson, its chief technology officer, welcoming the investment.

There are multiple reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the disclosure, including asking board members what they knew about Musk's plans.

The PIF said the deal would support the kingdom's Vision 2030 diversification plan, which includes commitments to sustainability and environmentally-friendly technology. In comparison, Apple in August became the world's first publicly traded company to be valued at $1 trillion.

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