Billionaire Elon Musk is reportedly in early talks with Saudi Arabia to build a new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility in the country. The oil-rich nation is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil and secure the metals needed for EVs. According to the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia is interested in partnering with Tesla to help secure more cobalt from Africa.
However, any potential deal would need to overcome hurdles, including Musk’s contentious relationship with the Saudis. In 2018, the Saudis declined to take Tesla private, and they currently have a majority stake in rival EV maker Lucid Motors.
Although neither Tesla, Musk, nor Saudi Arabia have commented on the report, this development comes as Musk is also building a Tesla supply system via India. The company plans to import automobile parts worth up to $1.9 billion from India this year, doubling last year’s imports.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed Tesla’s plans to source components from India and revealed that the company has been in talks with the Indian government. The move aligns with India’s push to become a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles.
As of now, it remains to be seen whether a Tesla manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia will materialize. However, the discussions reflect the increasing global interest in EVs and the efforts of countries to secure their position in the growing EV market.
Wall Street Journal