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."

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."