According to sources familiar with the matter, Saudi Arabia is engaged in preliminary discussions with Tesla to establish a manufacturing facility in the kingdom. The move is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil. The country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is already a major investor in Lucid Group, a startup aiming to challenge Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
In its bid to attract Tesla, Saudi Arabia has offered the right to purchase specific amounts of metals and minerals required for Tesla’s EV production from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, the kingdom is considering providing financing to commodities trader Trafigura for a struggling cobalt and copper project in Congo, which could potentially supply Tesla’s factory.
These discussions come on the heels of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urging Tesla CEO Elon Musk to establish a vehicle manufacturing facility in Turkey. Elon Musk is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to California.
Tesla aims to select a new factory location by the end of 2023 as it strives to expand its production capacity. Currently, the company operates six factories worldwide and is constructing a seventh in Mexico.
While Tesla and the Saudi sovereign fund declined to comment, these talks indicate the growing importance of the EV industry and the interest of global players in capturing market share. As governments and investors recognize the potential for sustainable transport, partnerships between nations and electric automakers are likely to increase.
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