US-based Tesla rival Lucid Motors plans to build a factory in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia according to Lucid CTO Peter Rawlinson. The firm has raised upwards of $1 billion from KSA’s Public Investment Fund, allowing it to fund the $240-million expense of building the first phase of its US factory.

Rawlinson said in an interview with Arab News that he sees Lucid Motors’s partnership with Saudi Arabia as “long-term”. “I can see a really bright future, with a tangible manufacturing facility or facilities,” he said. “We’d love to do that…we’re currently in a period where we are investigating all these options.

Lucid Motors had entered initial talks regarding support from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund in September 2018.

Rawlinson said the plan is still in its “early days” but he believes EVs have strong potential in the kingdom. “There is a vision that there will be some sort of production facility in the future.” He continued, “We are undertaking the appropriate studies, but I’m really excited about the potential of this,” he said. “This partnership is huge for us. We can benefit the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a significant, meaningful and long-term manner.

Rawlinson also spoke about tapping into Saudi Arabia’s abundant reserves, whether conventional or otherwise. “One of the great assets of the kingdom is its endless reserves of sunshine, and how that can be harvested with solar energy,” he said. “We’re a battery-storage technology company. That’s a way we could contribute. We’re exploring a number of avenues along those lines.”

Lucid Motors announced its initial contact with Saudi Arabian PIF on 17th September 2018. With negotiations in place, the American EV maker can now direct its energy towards bringing its first car on the road. The Lucid Air will debut sometime in 2020, featuring a 400hp front and 600hp rear motor. The four-figure power output is complemented by advanced electronics and safety tech. The Air prototype also hit 235mph (378kph) over Transportation Research Center’s high-speed track in Ohio, albeit with a few modifications.

The American EV maker's first product is a 1,000-hp sedan going on sale by late 2020.

With a new facility to operate from, Lucid can tap into the fast-growing and EV-friendly Middle Eastern market. Backed by the Saudi Arabian PIF, this American firm is well on the way to put up a fight against chief rival Tesla Motors.