Tesla and Saudi Arabia are in early talks for an EV factory. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing persons with knowledge of the situation, that Saudi Arabia and American electric car manufacturer Tesla (TSLA.O) are in preliminary discussions about establishing a production facility in the country.
According to the nation’s communications directorate, the report comes only hours after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan requested Tesla CEO Elon Musk to establish a car factory in Turkey.
On Monday in California, Musk will also meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.
According to the article, Saudi Arabia has been courting Tesla with the ability to buy specified quantities of the metals and minerals the firm requires for its electric vehicles from nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The monarchy has been working to diversify its economy away from oil. Lucid Group (LCID.O), one of the EV companies aiming to challenge Tesla’s hegemony in the sector, has received most of its funding from its sovereign wealth fund.
According to the WSJ story, one of the ideas the kingdom is considering is giving commodities trader Trafigura finance for a struggling Congo cobalt and copper project, which may assist in supplying a Tesla factory with materials.
Despite escalating expenses and chronically low cobalt prices, a Trafigura representative said the firm was considering its options for the Mutoshi project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Reuters’ inquiries for comment from Tesla were not immediately answered, and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia declined to comment.
By the end of 2023, Musk predicted in May, Tesla would likely choose a site for a new factory. It presently has six factories and a seventh is being constructed in Mexico’s northern Nuevo Leon state.
By 2030, Tesla wants to sell 20 million cars annually, up from just 1.3 million in 2022.