Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth investment vehicle, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has invested $1 billion in electric car manufacturer Lucid Motors.
The money will be used to fund the construction of Lucid’s factory in Arizona and the launch of its first vehicle, the Lucid Air electric sedan, which is scheduled for 2020.
The deal is in keeping with the PIF’s policy of pursuing investments in emerging technology as a way to minimise Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy. The fund also holds stakes in online taxi firm Uber and has invested $45 billion in a tech fund run by Japan-based SoftBank.
“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,” stated the fund.
The Lucid deal will be seen as a blow to rival electric car manufacturer Tesla. The PIF, which owns a 5% stake in Tesla, reportedly planned to finance the privatisation of the firm but backed out following a premature tweet from founder Elon Musk suggesting that the funding arrangement was finalised – a tweet that is now the subject of a criminal investigation from the US Justice Department.
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