Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to invest more than $1bn in Lucid Motors, a US-based electric vehicle maker.

In a statement, PIF said the investment “will provide the necessary funding to commercially launch Lucid’s first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020”.

MEED understands the firm will use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct a factory in Arizona, and enable the production and global rollout of Lucid Air starting in North America.

By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF said it expects to gain exposure to long-term growth opportunities, support innovation and technological development, and drive revenue and sectoral diversification in the kingdom.

The firm is frequently referred to as the “only credible competitor” of technology firm and carmaker Tesla.

Bernard Tse, a former vice-president and board member of Tesla, cofounded Lucid Motors (previously called Atieva) along with Sam Weng, a former executive at US-based technology firms Oracle Corporation and Redback Networks.

Early last month, it was revealed that PIF acquired shares of just under 5 per cent, worth between $1.bn and $2.9bn, in Tesla, making the Saudi sovereign wealth fund one of Tesla’s largest shareholders.

The investments in Lucid and Tesla follow the fund’s string of high-profile technology deals over the past few years.

In 2016, PIF invested $3.5bn in US-based ride-hailing service Uber. Last year, it announced an investment of $45bn in Japan-based Softbank’s $100bn Technology Fund, which aims to finance new developments in artificial intelligence, mobility and self-driving cars.

PIF also has a 50 per cent stake in online retailer Noon.com, which Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar founded.

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