Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has formed a joint venture with Foxconn to make and sell electric vehicles, the latest move in the country’s goal of reducing its dependence on oil and diversifying its economy towards its 2030 Vision.
The new company, called Ceer, will use BMW’s component technology to design, build and sell a range of electric vehicles, according to Thursday’s announcement. Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn, which makes Apple’s iPhones, is developing the vehicle’s electrical architecture, which Saudi Arabia says will lead to a “product portfolio” in infotainment, connectivity and self-driving technology.
The first electric vehicles under the Ceer brand are expected to hit the market in 2025.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) said Ceer, the country’s first electric vehicle brand, will attract more than $150 million in foreign direct investment and create up to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. Foreign direct investment, or FDI, is a key part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan. The country announced a national investment strategy last year that will see annual foreign direct investment exceed $100 billion by 2030.
PIF also said that the Ceer brand is expected to contribute $8 billion to the country’s GDP by 2034.
PIF has made significant investments in electric vehicles and other clean technologies. In 2018, PIF invested $1 billion in Lucid Motors, becoming its largest shareholder. PIF, which owns a 61% stake in Lucid, initially committed to buying 50,000 of Lucid’s electric vehicles in spring 2022, with the option to buy an additional 50,000 vehicles over the same 10-year period.
Foxconn has been pushing deeply into the automotive sector, especially electric vehicles. Foxconn has reached an agreement to produce electric vehicles for Lordstown Motors and Fisker. It also partnered with Taiwanese automaker Yulon Group to build an electric SUV called the Type C.
Foxconn Chairman Liu Yongwei said in October at his third annual Hon Hai Technology Day event that he wanted to replicate the company’s success in making consumer electronics to make electric vehicles for automakers.