Updated Aug 20, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Saudi Arabia's new intrigue: Electric vehicles

The Lucid Air. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund may invest in luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors, according to Reuters, which reports that recent discussions could result in the Saudis eventually investing over $1 billion and obtaining majority ownership.

Why it matters: The report comes just days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) was "eager" to bankroll his plan to take Tesla private.

  • The Reuters piece and Musk's claims, taken together, signal Saudi interest in electric vehicles as one of the tech sectors that can help diversify their oil-dominant economy.
  • However, Reuters' framing of the potential Lucid deal creates even more uncertainty about the Saudis' readiness and ability to invest heavily in Musk's expensive take-private plan.
  • "A deal with Lucid Motors would . . . be more in line with PIF’s limited resources, given that, despite its $250 billion in assets, PIF has already made substantial commitments to other technology companies or investments, including a $45-billion agreement to invest in a giant technology fund led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.," they report.

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