San Francisco: Billionaire Elon Musk, who is still mulling over setting up a Tesla factory in India, is in early talks to build a new EV manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is in talks with Tesla about setting up a manufacturing facility there, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources.
It is part of an ambitious effort by the oil-rich nation to “secure metals needed for electric vehicles and help diversify its economy away from oil.”
However, any deal would need to overcome hurdles, including Musk’s contentious relationship with the Saudis.
The country has a majority stake in rival electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors.
According to the report, most of the talks appear to be focused on Saudi Arabia’s willingness to help Tesla acquire more cobalt from Africa.
“Saudi Arabia’s government is trying to encourage foreign investment, but it has a contentious history with Elon Musk,” the report said.
Tesla, Musk or Saudi Arabia have not commented on the report.
In 2018, following his controversial tweet about taking Tesla “private”, Musk said he had met with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund representatives to discuss a possible exit from the electric car maker’s stock market.
Musk said in a statement posted on the Tesla website that the Saudi sovereign fund first contacted him “in early 2017 to express (its) interest due to the critical need to diversify away from oil.”
The Saudi sovereign fund then owned about five percent of Tesla’s outstanding shares.
The report comes as Musk is finally building out the Tesla supply system through India.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had said last week that electric vehicle companies are planning to buy automobile parts worth up to $1.9 billion from India this year.
Addressing the annual conference of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association, Goyal said the imports would be almost double the $1 billion worth of auto parts imported by Tesla from India last year.
The minister said that last year Tesla had already purchased components worth one billion dollars from India and this year their target is $1.7-1.9 billion.
Goyal’s statement comes after reports that the Musk-led company has held talks with the government, and is exploring the possibility of bringing its auto parts and electronics chain to the country.
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Web Title-Musk’s Tesla exploring options to set up EV factory in Saudi Arabia: Report