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Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund plans to invest over $1 billion into Lucid Motors, which the Silicon Valley electric automaker said will enable the commercial launch of its first vehicle in 2020.

Why it matters: The funding signals how the Saudis are seeking to use their Public Investment Fund (PIF) to help the kingdom, OPEC's dominant oil producer, diversify its crude-reliant economy.

Word of the Saudi interest in Lucid, a potential rival to Tesla that's eyeing the luxury market with a vehicle called the Lucid Air, surfaced last month.

The PIF also has a roughly 5% stake in Tesla, according to multiple reports.

The intrigue: The Saudi interest in the electric vehicle market attracted intense attention recently when Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he'd held advanced discussions with the PIF about bankrolling his expensive, now-abandoned plan to take Tesla private.

What they're saying: "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," a spokesperson for the PIF said in a statement alongside Monday's announcement.

Lucid said it will use the money to "complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, begin the global rollout of its retail strategy starting in North America, and enter production for the Lucid Air."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

The latest: “I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Student debt getting in the way of millennial homeownership

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millennial homeownership is on the rise — but student loan debt is still keeping millions of members of America's largest generation from owning a home.

Why it matters: Buying a house remains the No. 1 way to build wealth in the U.S.