EV maker Lucid Motors to build car factory in Saudi Arabia

The PIF-backed company plans to construct the manufacturing plant by 2025 or 2026, its chairman said

The Lucid Air speed test car displayed at the New York International Auto Show. Reuters
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Electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors plans to build a factory in Saudi Arabia by 2025 or 2026 as it seeks to ramp up production to capitalise on demand for electric cars, the company’s chairman said.

“Now that we are successfully producing and selling cars in the US, our attention is turning to this factory here,” Andrew Liveris told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday during a mining conference in Riyadh.

The California-based company, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is negotiating the details with ministries in the kingdom.

The National was the first to report in September about Lucid's plans to enter the Middle East market and that it was also considering plans to set up a manufacturing plant in the kingdom.

Lucid was founded in 2007 under the name Atieva and was initially focused on building EV batteries. In 2016, it rebranded as Lucid Motors, moved away from being a supplier and started to develop a luxury sedan to rival Tesla.

In 2018, the PIF invested more than $1 billion in Lucid to acquire a substantial stake, helping it to accelerate its manufacturing plans.

The company also became the first EV start-up to go public through a special purpose acquisition company after it merged with a blank-cheque company backed by Wall Street dealmaker Michael Klein in July.

Lucid, which makes the $169,000 limited production saloon car, Lucid Air Dream Edition, announced in September that it has started production of its consumer electric cars.

Its three other models include Air Pure ($77,400), Air Touring ($95,000) and Air Grand Touring ($139,000).

However, Lucid's manufacturing has been affected by ongoing supply chain disruptions, Mr Liveris said.

“We’ll have a lot more to say to the market about the sorts of things we’re seeing in the supply chain … yes, we’re experiencing supply chain issues,” he told Bloomberg Television.

Carmakers, particularly, have been affected by the Covid-induced chip shortage and supply chain disruptions have halted production in factories across the world.

Companies such as Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan all said they have been hit by the shortage and have been forced to delay production of some models to keep other factories running.

The global semiconductor shortage is expected to worsen to such an extent that it will drive about 50 per cent of the top 10 carmakers to design and produce their own chips by 2025, research firm Gartner predicted.

Updated: January 14, 2022, 4:52 AM