Something Strange Is Happening In Saudi Arabia

Estimated read time 5 min read

A revolution in transportation, energy, and city planning is brewing in the kingdom. But is everything as advertised?

Several years ago, I remember reading stories about the Saudis realizing the days of fossil fuel energy were numbered so they were investing heavily in “green” energy. At the time I filed it away as more hype for solar panels and wind turbines and moved on. Then Saudi Arabia’s public wealth fund became a major investor in electric car startup Lucid, claiming about a 62% stake in the company. Most largely ignored this involvement since Lucid wasn’t a player in the automotive market, only having some proof of concepts to show off at the time.

Watch a Polaris RZR run from the cops here.

Things have changed in 2022 with Lucid pumping out luxury EVs for well-heeled customers around the globe. Many corporate media, both automotive and mainstream, have been fawning over Lucid. Some have gone so far as to openly question if the Newark, California automaker will knock Tesla off its lofty perch in the EV space. The $77,400 starting price tag for the Lucid Air might make some laugh at such an assertion, but compared to the $106,440 starting price of the 2022 Tesla Model S, a car that started at $57,400 back in November 2012, such speculation doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.

Back in April of this year, Lucid finalized a deal with the government of Saudi Arabia for the purchase of up to 100,000 Lucid EVs over the next ten years. The agreement guarantees the purchase of 50,000 units over a decade, with the option of buying another 50,000.

Image via Lucid Motors

What’s more, the first foreign factory Lucid will build has been revealed. To the surprise of nobody paying attention it’s in Saudi Arabia. That announcement was made in May of this year. Production capacity will top out at 155,000 units annually with plans for most of those to be distributed in the region. By comparison, the factory in Casa Grande, Arizona has an annual capacity for 350,000 units.

Predictably, environmentalists, both of the casual and fanatical variety, are praising the efforts of Saudi Arabia to transition the world off oil and onto electricity. But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg of what the Middle Eastern country has planned under the direction of Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Bloomberg Businessweek was able to view “an internal Neom ‘style catalog’” which details Saudi Arabia’s effort to build the largest “smart city” in history. That should make you stand up and take note considering the country which has mostly been pushing the smart city concept for years is China, an oppressive communist regime. While Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy, its aspirations for dominance of citizens’ actions could be similar. And, like China, the Saudi crown seems to be using the guise of the Green New Deal applied globally to tighten that control.

On paper, the Saudi smart city concept sounds like something out of a science fiction book or movie. There’s good reason for that, because according to the Bloomberg report professionals are being recruited to recreate the aesthetic nature of sci-fi classics like Blade Runner. Among the utopian-style plans are elevators which fly through the sky; buildings configured like double helixes, a flower in bloom, or a falcon’s outstretched wings; a fully automated port and integrated logistics hub; a facility to produce hydrogen for fuel-cell cars and buildings; and an urban spaceport. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and renewables all combine for this revolutionary city design. If you’re getting visions of Dubai and then some, that’s probably the idea.

This smart city will be built from the ground up in the far northwest region of Saudi Arabia. When finished, it’s supposed to be 33 times larger than New York City and should outshine the dazzling urban landscape of Dubai. That makes it about the size of Belgium. A whole team of architects, futurists, and Hollywood production designers have been employed to make it reality.

Called Neom, the smart city-region is perhaps the most ambitious building project man has seen in centuries, maybe even a few millennia. If successful, it could transform how people live, promising to leverage green technologies the likes of which have only been dreamed of, until now. This would be the modern equivalent to the hanging gardens of Babylon, only more environmentally friendly.

If this vision of environmental justice coupled with absolute monitoring and subsequent control of a populace also sounds like some of the grander dreams of Charles Schwab and the World Economic Forum, that might not be coincidence. As Mohammed bin Salman has lifted religious restrictions in the country, some have theorized he’s aligning himself increasingly with the globalists’ revolutionary ideas.

Read the Bloomberg story for yourself here.

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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