Arabs drive green? Saudi Arabia plans on manufacturing and exporting 150K electric vehicles, EVs, by 2026 as part of the newly launched National Industry Strategy. Saudi Arabia knows it needs to diversify away from oil, despite spending billions, trillions even on Neom, The Line and Trojena’s ski-hills in the desert.
Abdullah al-Swaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology said last week: “This was a dream, and it has become a reality under the leadership of the Crown Prince,” al-Swaha said. Saudi Arabia’s investment in Lucid Motors “has placed the Kingdom among developed countries.”
Possibly in words, but not in actions. Saudi Arabians don’t do labor jobs so a vast majority of the jobs will be poorly treated immigrants. According to Human Rights Watch, millions of migrant workers fill mostly manual, clerical, and service jobs in Saudi Arabia, constituting more than 80 percent of the private sector workforce.
“They are governed by an abusive kafala system that gives their employers excessive power over their mobility and legal status in the country. The system underpins migrant workers’ vulnerability to a wide range of abuses, from passport confiscation to delayed wages and forced labor. Despite local media reporting the contrary, the changes do little to dismantle the kafala system, leaving migrant workers at high risk of abuse,” Human Rights Watch expounds.
But that’s another story. Back to the electric cars. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns 61 percent of Lucid Motors, the California-headquartered electric vehicle maker. And a Saudi-based factory has started being built last May.
What is the Lucid Group?
Formerly known as Atieva, Lucid Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: LCID) is an American-headquartered electric vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Newark, California. The company was founded in 2007 by Bernard Tse, Sam Wang, and Sheaupyng Lin. Majority shareholders are Saudi Arabia and Chinese investors.
Deliveries of the Dream Edition launch versions were made available to the first group of 520 reservation holders on October 30, 2021.
Lucid is rivalling Tesla in style and performance, hiring Elon Musk’s employees to outclass Tesla. They plan on cracking the Chinese market and the first plant in Saudi Arabia might be a pilot to see how well the company can do manufacturing outside of the United States.
Lucid Motors does not appear “Chinese” on the surface, with most of its senior management from the US and its operations in North America. But disclosed investors are mainly from China, including China’s LeEco, Tsing Capital, China Environmental Fund and Jafco Life Science.
As Saudi Arabia falls out with Biden over energy goals, China is a willing partner.
The Saudi government wants EVs for its staff. Unlike foreign nationals, the Saudi government pays Saudi nationals well, with loads of benefits. According to local news reports it has ordered between 50,000 and 100,000 electric vehicles from Lucid within the next ten years.
Lucid Group of Lucid Motors (LCID.O) has opened its first Lucid Studio in Saudi Arabia, where interested customers can experience the Lucid Air electric vehicle and customize it. This is in preparation for the electric vehicles that will be manufactured in the kingdom soon. Since journalism is not encouraged in Saudi Arabia we will be interested to get some sneak previews of worker conditions onsite as the plant is being built.