The Saudi wealth fund bought Tesla stock. Now it's investing in Lucid, a Tesla competitor

Lucid Motors, the Bay Area electric car start-up, has been struggling to raise money for more than a year. Now it appears to have found some: more than a billion dollars from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

If the deal announced Monday closes as Lucid expects, the company said it will have enough cash to finish engineering the high-end Lucid Air sedan and begin manufacturing in Arizona as scheduled in 2020. And the Saudis would be backing both the leading electric luxury car maker, Tesla, and a Tesla competitor.

“Our efforts to date have been based on proof of concept,” said Derek Jenkins, head of design at Lucid. “Going forward, this will enable us to mature our supply chain, kicking off long lead times on tooling. We can ramp up hiring and build out our plans for retail customer experience centers in major cities.” Lucid has produced working, street-ready prototypes of the Lucid Air, but it lacks manufacturing operations to build in volume.

The company — whose previous backers and target customers are primarily Chinese — is based in Newark, Calif., a few miles from Tesla’s automobile manufacturing plant.

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