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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced setting up its first electric vehicle manufacturing plant in the country as the government plans to ensure 30 percent of all vehicles in the capital city Riyadh run on electricity by 2030.

This is yet another step toward promoting sustainable living in the Kingdom that has set out ambitious plans to diversify away from the oil economy under Vision 2030.

The plant that will have a capacity to produce up to 150,000 electric vehicles every year will be set up by Lucid Group. The American firm recently signed a deal with the Saudi Ministry of Investment and the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, allowing it to set up its first plant outside the US in Saudi Arabia.

“Our strong relationships with the PIF and our partners at MISA, KAEC, and SIDF give us unique insight into the demand for luxury cars and SUVs in Saudi Arabia and beyond. We are thrilled to introduce the world’s most advanced electric vehicles to more global markets,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid Group.

The Lucid plant is expected to unlock huge funds that the government plans to hand out as subsidies to promote sustainable projects undertaken by local and foreign firms, including PIF backed companies.

“Building a plant in Saudi Arabia can provide access to government subsidies which should be in favor of the company’s success,” said Mohammed Al-Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital.

The PIF, a major stakeholder in Lucid, is developing several giga-projects, many of which revolve around sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

Among these projects are NEOM, and the Red Sea project, which aim to limit the use of standard vehicles inside their destinations.

“We are looking to find out ways to bring and operate and maintain electric vehicles and build EV grids in the destination,” said Najwa Hamzeh, senior smart destination director at TRSDC, in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

She said many steps need to be undertaken to keep this move practical and sufficient, including finding enough maintenance facilities and EV charging points.

“We are also looking to build the first vehicle maintenance facility and depot for EVs,” added Hamzeh.

The imports of electric vehicles charging were permitted in 2020, in accordance with the specified procedures, said Saad Alkasabi, governor of Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, or SASO.

“The Kingdom started to study the technical, economic, and environmental details related to EV, its infrastructure, as well as the opportunities it offers to reduce environmental pollution,” he added, according to Argaam.

The Public Investment Fund initially invested in Lucid Group in 2018, with its majority stake currently equating to $46 billion. The Lucid plant is expected to generate up to $3.4 billion in value for the company over the next 15 years.

Establishing a factory for the Lucid company will contribute to achieving the fund’s objectives, including raising the proportion of local content to 60 percent in the fund and its subsidiaries by the end of 2025.

The partnership between the PIF and Lucid Group is expected to provide training opportunities to Saudi youth, who can also enroll for the Lucid Company program that has graduated many specialists.

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