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Qatar’s EV ambitions grow with Vim brand launch

Qatar electric vehicles Qatar News Agency
Ecotranzit showcased its Vim EV prototypes earlier this month and has started to invest in assembly plants and preliminary production lines
  • Ecotranzit has plans to design and build electric cars
  • Qatar wants 35% of cars and all buses to be electric by 2030
  • EV charging network should reach 250 by the end of this year

Electric vehicle sales could make up 20 percent of the total auto market in Qatar by 2032, experts forecast, as the Gulf state launches its first EV brand.

Qatar-based Ecotranzit showcased the first prototypes of its Vim-branded electric vehicle earlier this month. They are manufactured under its exclusive intellectual property rights deal with partners including China-based Beijing Automotive Works. 

The company plans to design and build its own electric cars in the future and has started to invest in assembly plants and preliminary production lines, according to Qatar News Agency.

Qatar’s passenger EV market remains nascent, but is expected to grow strongly over the next decade, as the government sets targets. 

The Gulf state currently ranks behind the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where multi-billion dollar investments have been made to set up factories and attract big-name players such as Lucid.

In April, Qatar’s ministry of transport set a target to switch 35 percent of its fleet and 100 percent of its public transport buses to electric by 2030.

Analysts at research firm BMI said this could drive passenger EV sales to just under 600 units by the end of this year. 

They then predict that average sales will grow by 48 percent each year, reaching around 15,000 units by 2032. This would represent an EV penetration rate of over 20 percent.

The analysts also expect sales of electric trucks, pickups and minibuses to reach nearly 2,200 units by 2030, a penetration rate of 15 percent.

VimQatar News Agency
Qatar’s EV market remains nascent but is expected to grow significantly over the next decade

The Qatari government aims for total EV sales to reach 10 percent of domestic sales by 2030.

Based on import statistics, passenger EV sales are estimated to have expanded by 71 percent in 2022 to reach around 150 units. Qatar’s total EV fleet – passenger and commercial – reached around 1,130 units, representing just 0.1 percent of total vehicles. 

The majority of passenger EVs sold in 2022 were of Chinese origin, including Tesla models made in China, with a steady rise in European cars towards the end of 2022.

Around 800 electric buses were also thought to have been sold in Qatar last year.

In April, Dukhan Bank introduced its first eco-friendly vehicle finance offer for customers who buy an EV before the end of September. 

“This, along with continued improvement in the supply of vehicles from the US, Europe and Japan, along with mainland China, will support robust passenger EV sales in 2023,” said the BMI analysts in a research note.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation is expanding its EV charging network to reach 250 installed chargers by the end of this year, and the analysts said the country’s small size means it will be “relatively easy” to develop a strong local EV network.

“However, significant cooperation will be required for an inter-GCC EV charging network over our forecast period,” it added.

A study by the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar said the Gulf state could become an EV manufacturing hub, with the likes of Volkswagen, Gaussin and Yutong already partnering with government entities.

It added that e-mobility targets such as 100 percent EV public transport by 2030 alongside 15,000 public charging stations would be needed to support the ambition.