As Elon Musk’s haphazard bid to take Tesla private quickly unraveled last month, the CEO disclosed that he believed Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could finance the proposal on its own. Then, amid the firestorm, news broke that the Saudis actually intended to dump $1 billion into Tesla rival Lucid Motors. On Monday, Lucid and the Saudis made it official.
Lucid said Monday that it had executed a $1 billion investment agreement with the fund, subject to necessary regulatory approvals. If all goes according to plan, Lucid believes it’ll have the necessary funding to commercially launch its first electric vehicle, the sleek Lucid Air, in 2020.
Lucid will use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Arizona, and begin production. Arizona had committed about $50 million in tax incentives for the $700 million facility.
The electric car startup has been around for more than a decade, and it lagged as of late to get its ambitious project off the ground due to a funding shortfall. At one point last year, Ford had reportedly been in discussions to acquire Lucid, but the Blue Oval wasn’t looking for a deal at the time.
Lucid, unlike its counterparts, has quelled high expectations set for electric vehicle startups, and the latest announcement is a reflection of that, delaying the launch date of the Air from 2018 to 2020.
The Air sedan is expected to have a base model of the vehicle will start at $60,000 and it’ll have a claimed range of 240 miles. A “well-optioned” Air will carry 1000 HP and a claimed range of 400 miles, according to the automaker.
The announcement could reignite concerns about Tesla’s standing going forward. Lucid joins electric car startup Faraday Future, which plans to launch its first luxury vehicle in 2019, along with a slew of electrified offerings forthcoming from major automakers. Later Monday, Audi is set to debut its first all-electric SUV, the E-tron.