Electric cars are the future — Lucid cars in the Kingdom next year
As a cornerstone of the Vision 2030 reform plan the Saudi government has decided to invest in renewable and clean energy and its related by-products, such as electric cars. By investing in the electric vehicles market the Kingdom, through its Public Investment Fund (PIF), is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities and supporting innovation and technological development.
These investments are also part of the government’s plan to build an environmentally friendly economy and to diversify the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) away from a reliance on oil.
Recently, and in the middle of gloomy news about COVID-19, we were pleased to hear that the Saudi-backed Lucid Motors announced that it was accepting reservations for its Lucid Air sports sedan in Saudi Arabia. Customers can reserve the luxury electric car for SR3,750 ($1,000). The car is expected to be priced at around SR225,000 and deliveries in the Kingdom are expected to commence in late 2021. As part of its plans to prepare the roads for electric cars, the Kingdom has already installed commercial electric car-charging stations in Riyadh and other cities.
I had the opportunity to inspect the prototype of the Lucid Air sedan when it was displayed at the Financial Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh in 2018. It was very impressive with its state-of-the-art technology to drive or to be driven. The back seat makes you feel as if you are flying in a private jet.
On a more technical note the car, with its detailed clean energy features, was designed from the outset with proprietary technology that allows for optimized efficiency and performance. Lucid has developed a world-leading integrated electric powertrain, including battery pack, motors, power electronics, and software – all operating at an ultra-high 900V+ architecture for ultimate efficiency – creating a new benchmark powertrain that is the most powerful for its size and weight in the world. The result of this focus on engineering excellence is expected to be an industry-leading range of more than 400 miles per charge, alongside up to 1,000 horsepower.
Lucid Motors is not the only electric car manufacturer the PIF has invested in. Its biggest rival, Tesla, has its own substantial backing from the PIF as well. During Davos meetings last year BMG Financial Group introduced another electric car opportunity by DHL Deutsche Post, with a plan to set up electric delivery van manufacturing facilities in the country utilizing different benefits and incentives. The plan was strongly welcomed by several ministries and government agencies. But, with the outbreak of COVID-19, everything has been put on hold until further notice.
In my opinion, the Kingdom will continue its support for the clean energy sector and will be encouraging local and international players, such as Lucid, Tesla and others, to set up their manufacturing facilities in the country to take advantage of this promising future trend. I have already reserved my Lucid Air car and can’t wait until I drive it here.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.