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Saudi Arabia Invests $1B in Lucid Motors

September 18, 2018

Luxury electric car startup Lucid Motors just landed a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Lucid, founded in 2007 and based in Newark, California, is seen by many as the auto manufacturer electric car rival Tesla needs most to be afraid of.

The company’s Lucid Air Model targets the same market as Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan. Although Lucid is still only at the prototype stage or this vehicle, it has several other things going for it which should make a difference. It will feature luxury styling to beat the looks of the Model S, with a dual-motor, 1,000 horsepower ‘engine’ which will kick it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. So it still has that gas-guzzler-high-acceleration-sports-car appeal in a zero-emissions electric-car-of-the-future package.

The company also has several former Tesla employees behind it, to help design the car and also take advantage of all the learnings they had while at Tesla in its early days. One of those former Tesla people is Peter Rawlinson, Lucid Motor’s Chief Technology Officer.

Like Tesla, Lucid also has some major backers behind it, some of which come from surprising places. It has Samsung SDI and LG Chem as strategic partners. It also received funding in 2015 from Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., an affiliate of China government-owned BAIC Motor Corp. Inc., which made BAIC its biggest investor at that time. BAIC also built an advanced research center in Fremont, California, just a short drive from Lucid’s newly-built headquarters in Fremont.

Now, with Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund behind it, Lucid can proceed with a planned auto manufacturing site in Arizona. It had previously been seeking $700 million in near-term funding for that, and stopped construction on that site for a while. With this $1 billion it can complete that. It will soon need more funds to keep going, something that may become even easier as Tesla appears to be stumbling, both technically and logistically, and the Lucid Air gets closer to production.

With this variety of international investors plus a hot car serving a hot market, Lucid Motors may prove to be the slower-moving tortoise of a company that managed to come from behind and beat the faster-moving hare in this market, Tesla.

Copyright: North America Procurement Council Inc., PBC