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Lucid's fortunes are looking upward


Saudi Arabia is already closely involved with Lucid Motors, but rumors late last week that the state Public Investment Fund wanted to buy more Lucid shares sent the price up 43%. Then it backed off a little bit over the weekend.

PIF owns more than 60 percent of Lucid already and has promised to buy as many as 100,000 EVs from the automaker over the next 10 years. Lucid also announced that it will be building a factory in Saudi Arabia.

Also last week, Lucid announced that it will offer a 469-horsepower electric motor to all Formula E cars this season. The EDU includes a motor, inverter, differential, and transmission and will be used to capture braking energy.

Even with its vast oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is interested in electric vehicles. Whether it's a deal with Canoo for fleet vehicles or Saudi Arabia's Center, an upcoming home-grown electric vehicle is set to arrive in 2025 with Foxconn helping Saudi Arabia get into the EV game. The country's relationship with Lucid is well-established, and rumors that the Saudi government may increase its investment in the luxury automaker sent the share price surging 43 percent on Friday, to end at $12.87.

Nothing has been officially announced about any such deal, but Reuters has reported that Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is considering buying the rest of Lucid's shares. Lucid's share price is down 4.5 percent over the weekend from its high on Friday.

Last year, Lucid sold nearly 86 million shares of a PIF subsidiary for about $915 million. Lucid sold other shares to other groups, but the deal kept the PIF's overall investment in Lucid steady at about 62 percent, according to CNBC. Last spring, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it would purchase between 50,000 and 100,000 Lucid EVs over the next decade. Lucid also announced that it will build its second factory in Saudi Arabia. Last year, Lucid built a total of 7,180 vehicles at its only factory in Arizona.

Lucid has brought news of another kind to the all-electric Formula E racing series. The company announced that its Electric Drive Unit (EDU), which includes a motor, inverter, differential, and transmission and produces up to 469 horsepower, will be used in every Gen3 Formula E race car. Lucid said the EDU will provide renewable energy recovery from the front wheels. EDU won't be able to send all 469 horses to power the front wheels due to Formula E regulations, but Lucid has plans for EDU technology that goes beyond Formula E.

In fact, in its announcement, Lucid technically didn't say anything about Formula E. Instead, it said that the EDU can be found in the cone of every car in "the world's leading electric single-seat racing series," so, well, Formula E. Lucid has a history with the racing series, developing a battery pack that was used in previous Formula E seasons.

Lucid highlights the EDU's high energy density (6.7 hp per pound) in a unit that weighs just over 70 pounds and can spin up to 19,500 rpm. Although the same unit is not found in the Lucid Air electric sedan, some technology, such as a proprietary microjet cooling system, is present in both cars.

"I am excited by the possibility that some of the technology advancements that have been introduced may also make their way into Lucid road cars in the future," said Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid, in a statement. “For Lucid, the technology transfer between motorsports and road cars is a two-way symbiosis.”

Lucid builds all of its Formula E EDUs at its California headquarters.

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