A number of Middle Eastern countries want Tesla — or at least its factories.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Saudi Arabia and Tesla are in the early stages of negotiations to establish a manufacturing facility in the kingdom.
As the world’s fleets electrify, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy has been working to diversify its economic reliance on oil. This is why the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund has invested its funding in electric vehicle manufacturer, Lucid Group Inc., one of the companies aiming to challenge Tesla’s supremacy in the EV sector.
According to the article, Saudi Arabia has been courting Tesla with the ability to buy specified quantities of the metals and minerals the automaker requires for its electric vehicles from nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of the ideas the kingdom is taking into consideration include giving commodities trader Trafigura finance for a struggling Congo cobalt and copper project, which may assist in supplying a Tesla factory with materials, according to the WSJ story. Despite escalating expenses and chronically low cobalt prices, a Trafigura representative said the firm was considering its options.
In May, Musk said the company would choose a site for its seventh factory. Currently, the company is building its newest manufacturing plant in northern Mexico.
Other countries pitching Musk
The talks come as Tesla CEO Elon Musk was reportedly asked to build a car factory in Turkey by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as well, according to the nation’s communications directorate, adding that several Turkish suppliers currently deal with Tesla, making it a prime candidate for Tesla’s next plant. Erdogan also stated that he is open to collaboration in the fields of artificial intelligence and Starlink, Musk’s SpaceX’s satellite internet project.
According to Turkey’s state-run news agency, Erdogan and Musk are meeting at a skyscraper close to the United Nations in New York. The 78th U.N. General Assembly is being held in the United States, which Erdogan is attending.
In addition, on Monday in California, Musk is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was first reported by The Washington Post. Musk said on X that artificial intelligence technology would be the focus of their discussions. The meeting comes as the Anti-Defamation League and other groups accuse Musk of amplifying anti-Semitism on his social media platform. But Musk said they would not be discussing that. But Musk’s locating an AI facility in Israel would make sense given the country’s highly-regarded high tech sector.
But these countries are not alone in gaining a tesla facility. India could see a Tesla factory as well, as Musk said in August that he’s interested in building a low-cost EV there.