KAUST helps accelerate the electric vehicle sector in Saudi Arabia

KAUST talent has the power to be a driving force behind Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) sector. For car manufacturer Lucid Motors, which recently opened an advanced manufacturing plant in nearby King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), the University and its highly skilled pool of graduates will help accelerate the Kingdom’s journey toward a sustainable and innovative EV future.   

“The EV industry uses a lot of cutting-edge, clean-energy technology that requires additional research focused on development,” said Hamad Almosa, Lucid’s Head of Human Resources at KAEC. “With its advanced laboratories, talent development and research, KAUST can add value to this whole sector.” 

During the Career Accelerator Series held on December 5, as part of KAUST’s In-Kingdom Career Launch Program (IKCLP), Lucid personnel highlighted the job opportunities for students, postdocs and research scientists. For example, Almosa outlined career prospects for KAUST graduates specializing in electrical engineering, automotive engineering, battery technology and renewable energy, particularly once the company establishes an R&D center in Riyadh. 

Fortunately, said Dr. Najah Ashry, KAUST Vice President for Strategic National Advancement (SNA), KAUST programs are adept at connecting talent with dynamic job-market demands and aligning skills developed to the evolving needs of EV companies such as Lucid. “Lucid Motors is a strategic partner. We have a lot of opportunities to explore for the future in terms of how we can leverage resources.” 

KAUST talent at Lucid 

Motivated by innovation aligned with Vision 2030, Abdulshaheed Alqunber, Machine Learning Engineer at Lucid, sees his position as contributing to Saudi Arabia's transformation into a global technology leader. The KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) alumnus, who holds a master’s degree in computer science from KAUST, told the IKCLP virtual event that his U.S. internship at Lucid was a “crucial stepping stone” into the EV sector and its advanced technology. 

“My time at Boston University and with KAUST fueled a growing interest in machine learning and its capacity to transform industries. This interest, when met with the right opportunities, steered me towards my current role at Lucid Motors. The prospect of being a part of Lucid’s establishment in Saudi Arabia was an opportunity not only for me to be at the forefront of an exciting field, but also to contribute to a significant era of innovation within the Kingdom.”   

He added: “Saudi Arabia’s commitment to becoming a hub of innovation, underscored by investment in the tech sector and establishment of Lucid’s first manufacturing plant at KAEC, provides future-bright opportunities.” 

Opportunities galore 

With the EV sector anticipating $50 billion total investments over the next decade and around 30 percent of cars on Riyadh roads expected to be electric by 2030, Lucid is aligning itself with the likes of in-Kingdom EV company Ceer Motors, capitalizing on this flourishing global sector. Goldman Sachs predicts that EVs will comprise about half of worldwide new car sales by 2035. Due to such potential, Lucid is actively recruiting enthusiastic, skilled workers.   

In the foreseeable future, Almosa said, the KAEC facility will require onsite engineers working closely with the overall system — another opportunity for KAUST talent. At KAEC, Lucid already is tapping the Saudi workforce, providing skill-development training. Through a Human Resources Development Fund agreement, the EV company intends to employ hundreds of Saudi nationals near-term, eventually expanding the workforce into the thousands.  

Recent KAUST Saudi graduates can access Lucid’s career-uplift program, which provides structured training and first-hand experience in the EV market, noted Rana Almowis, Talent Acquisition Manager at Lucid. “It’s a mixture of training in the U.S. and in Saudi Arabia. Once you finish that training program, you will have your job.” 

Further, Almowis added, in-Kingdom full-time positions await properly skilled and motivated international candidates. “We’re looking for innovative thinkers, people who can work in teams, take ownership, who have a passion for excellence, and who can act with urgency.”