Watch out Tesla, your rival has struck again and is wooing the Saudis. Electric car maker Lucid Motors has gained the attention of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, who may be willing to invest $1 billion in the company. The actions signal a alternative plan for Saudi Arabia if Tesla doesn’t go private.
“The Lucid Air (the company’s signature vehicle) is legitimate technology and very well designed. They have a stellar team, they just need money,” said president of consulting firm The CarLab, Eric Noble. The Saudi Public Investment Fund may still be up in the air with Tesla, but has a $250 billion war chest that could definitely spearhead production of the Lucid Air. The company has been trying to raise a series D round of $700 million since last year to get a plant up and running in Arizona.
Lucid Motors was a startup co-founded eleven years ago by Silicon Valley veteran Sam Weng. The company recruited and assembled a team from Mazda Motor Corp. and Tesla, including the chief engineer of Tesla’s Model S, Peter Rawlinson.
The Lucid Air was a concept car at the New York Auto Show in 2017 and Rawlinson mentioned the electric vehicle would start at a price of $60,000. While Lucid has not updated information about the car on its website, we know the Air’s motor can produce the equivalent of 400 horsepower and travel 240 miles on a full charge.
The company also plans on releasing a higher-end electric car with 1,000 horsepower. It will be able to drive 400 miles on a full charge but according to Rawlinson, the car will be at a much more expensive price: “well north of $100,000.”
News of Saudi interest in Lucid is weighing heavily on Tesla stock. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has shown interest in taking his company private. He met with the Saudis in July.