Saudi Arabia’s EV dreams transitioning to reality, say CEER and Lucid officials
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s electric vehicle ecosystem has sparked a new industry, attracting both local and international investments amid economic diversification efforts, according to a panel of experts.
Companies like CEER and Lucid – which is majority-owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund – are at the forefront of catalyzing the EV industry’s growth within Saudi Arabia, having taken numerous measures within a short period to ensure its expansion.
During a panel at PIF’s Private Sector Forum, Jim Deluca, CEO of CEER, and Faisal Sultan, the vice president and managing director of Lucid Middle East, addressed the strides their respective companies are making in realizing the Kingdom’s electrification goals.
Deluca outlined that CEER – a Saudi company announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November 2022 – is designing, engineering, validating, manufacturing, and selling a portfolio of battery-powered electric vehicles in the Kingdom, emphasizing that the breadth and scope of their operations “give us a huge advantage.”
He deemed CEER a catalyst in this “whole endeavor,” as it and Lucid’s needs for a supply base have allowed tier-one suppliers to co-locate alongside the companies in King Abdullah Economic City.
“At the end of the day, this has been a dream of the Kingdom for a very, very long time. All of us are pleased to be part of this transition, the transition of shaping the future of mobility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Deluca.
“You can’t have an automotive industry without a supply base. Together, our collective volumes are creating that supply base that gives us the foundation of this automotive industry,” added the CEO of CEER.
The company is aiming to ensure that the foundation they are hoping to see come to fruition is also rooted in localization and Saudi talent.
In order to do so, it has implemented a goal to have “well over” 40 percent of local content within the first phase of its vehicle development, an effort which the CEO deemed “absolutely necessary.”
While the company has brought in a team of global automotive experts to aid in facilitating a fast start, they aim to ensure the transfer of knowledge through developing a “human capital development pipeline” to young Saudis in order to make sure they are “developing the future leaders of this industry today, right here in the Kingdom.”
All of these efforts are further catalyzed by ideal conditions within the Kingdom, which have given EV companies a “much better chance at success” within the nation compared to the rest of the world, said the MD of Lucid Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s geographical location, “amazingly situated in the center of the Earth,” allows for access to all major markets within hours of logistical reach.
Coupled with strong governmental support and a robust private sector that can “jump in and start taking on these opportunities,” Sultan affirmed that this has created an ideal incubator for the industry’s success.