Following news earlier this week Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan had asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk to consider building a factory in his country, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing “sources familiar with the matter”, reported Saudi Arabia was talking with Tesla about establishing a facility in the kingdom.
The move reportedly was part of a strategy to secure metals for electric vehicles (EVs) and diversify the economy beyond oil.
The WSJ said talks were in an early stages and the outcome was uncertain.
Any potential deal might be complicated due to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s previous relationship with Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s partnership with Lucid Group, a Tesla rival.
Saudi Arabia has been enticing Tesla by offering opportunity to purchase metals and minerals for its EVs from sources including the Democratic Republic of Congo, a major cobalt supplier.
Last June, Saudi Arabia approached the Congolese government to secure assets in the country.
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In 2018, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested in Lucid, a company headed by a former Tesla executive (Peter Rawlinson) with the condition Lucid established a local factory.
It was set to begin vehicle assembly this month at its first overseas plant on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast.
According to the WSJ, Musk had indicated Tesla might need more factories to meet production goals with the possibility of announcing another soon.
Musk has also been talking with the Indian government.
Tesla so far has six gigafactories in the US, China, and Germany and is building a seventh in Mexico.