Luxury EV maker Lucid Group has opened its first international factory in Saudi Arabia, the home of its largest shareholder.
The factory, located in Jeddah, will have initial capacity to assemble 5,000 Lucid vehicles annually, according to the company. Lucid said it plans to expand the facility to 150,000-vehicle production capacity. Workers at the plant will initially re-assemble Lucid Air vehicle kits that are pre-manufactured at the company's U.S. factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. Lucid aims to transition the Saudi Arabian factory to complete build unit production after the middle of the decade.
The factory opening comes one year after the government of Saudi Arabia, which is connected to the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund that owns 60% of Lucid, said it would buy 100,000 the automaker's electric vehicles over the next decade.
The government of Saudi Arabia made an initial commitment to buy 50,000 of Lucid’s EVs with an option to purchase an additional 50,000 vehicles over that same 10-year time frame. The pledge includes the Lucid Air, a luxury sedan that launched in 2021, as well as future models such as the upcoming Gravity SUV.
The EV sales agreement is part of the Saudi kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, or PIF, invested $1 billion into Lucid Motors in 2018 when it was still a privately held company. The funding was a lifeline for Lucid and ensured the company would be able to start production of its first EV, the Air. PIF held onto its investment when Lucid became a publicly traded company via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.