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Emirates drives growth in electric vehicle adoption

Al Futtaim Group is to be the UAE representative for Chinese EV manufacturer BYD, partially owned by investor Warren Buffet BYD
Al Futtaim Group is to be the UAE representative for Chinese EV manufacturer BYD, partially owned by investor Warren Buffet
  • Market forecast to grow 30% a year to 2028
  • Green Charger provides 600+ public charging points 
  • Al Futtaim among firms launching EV dealerships

The UAE is known for its SUVs and supercars, but companies in the Gulf state are accelerating the drive worldwide towards electric vehicles.

The number of EVs on the road globally is expected to reach 200 million by 2030, says Gustave Cordahi, principal with Strategy& Middle East.

EV sales are projected to surpass those of petrol-powered vehicles in the next two decades. 

“Some projections suggest that the share of EVs in some larger markets could reach close to 90 percent by 2040,” Cordahi said.

In the UAE the EV market is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent through to 2028, according to the electric mobility readiness index 2022 compiled by consultancy firm Arthur D Little.

With rising fuel prices, net zero emissions commitments and a more environmentally aware consumer base, local companies are jostling for pole position in order to capitalise on this growth.

Al Futtaim Group this week announced the launch of its Electric Mobility Company – and the UAE’s first ever e-mobility focused dealership.

Managing director Hasan Nergiz said demand for EVs is “stronger than it has ever been”.

“This can be attributed not just to rising fuel prices but to growing customer awareness of the technology, environmental advantages, faster acceleration and silent driving characteristics,” Nergiz said.

Nergiz said a company goal is to accelerate sales of new energy vehicles from 3 percent today to 30 percent by 2030, and install 3,000 charging stations over the same period.

He also said Al Futtaim Group would be the UAE representative for Chinese multinational manufacturer BYD.

Earlier this month Polestar, the Swedish electric performance car company, and Al Futtaim, Polestar’s sole dealer representative in the UAE, opened a Polestar Space at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates.

At the same time, Al Nabooda Automobiles took part in the regional premiere of the Q8 e-tron as it was unveiled in the UAE.

US carmaker General Motors has also revealed plans to bring 13 new EVs to the region, with initial deliveries starting in the second half of this year.

The Cadillac Lyriq is among the EVs produced by General Motors. Picture: General Motors/via Reuters

Jack Uppal, president and managing director, GM Africa and Middle East, said: “Our region has one of the largest youth populations in the world, and bettering our environments sits highly on their socio-economic agenda.”

The UAE, which has set a target of zero emissions by 2050, has one of the highest levels of EV acceptability, with 30 percent of residents considering buying an EV to contribute to the green transition, according to the Arthur D Little report.

EV charging infrastructure

The Emirates has launched several plans to aid EV adoption over recent years, one of the most notable being the Dubai government’s Green Charger initiative that provides public charging infrastructure for EVs. 

By the end of 2022 there were 620 charging points across Dubai. 

Powertech Mobility, a provider of electric vehicle infrastructure in the UAE, reported a 250 percent year-on-year demand growth in 2022 for fast chargers.

Vinay Premachandran, director of sales, said there had been a 40 percent increase in residential areas, 70 percent in automotive dealerships and 100 percent in public fast-charging in the last year.

“The UAE’s perception of the EV market is gradually evolving into a more practical standpoint of lowering lifetime costs while considering sustainability as the norm,” said Arthi Srinivasan, director of EV charging solutions at Powertech Mobility.

Electric vehicles UAEDubai Media Office
Dubai’s Green Charger initiative is aiding UAE demand for EVs. Picture: Dubai Media Office

On Wednesday Al Futtaim Group announced its partnership with Siemens to launch Charge2Moov charging stations in the UAE.

Meanwhile, KIZAD, part of AD Ports Group’s Economic Cities & Free Zones, last year signed a lease agreement with NWTN Motors to establish an assembly plant in Abu Dhabi to serve growing demand.

M Glory Holding Group and Dubai Industrial City announced the opening of a new 45,000 sq ft factory to house a temporary assembly line, which has a maximum production capacity of 10,000 electric cars per year.

And Lightyear, the Dutch startup that launched the world’s first long-range production-ready solar electric vehicle, also picked the UAE for its first overseas expansion.

Mark Haddad, partner with Strategy& Middle East, said: “Economically, the transition towards electric mobility can play an important role in the diversification of Mena economies away from the oil and gas dominance. 

“The shift would help promote localised manufacturing and assembly, stimulate job creation and innovative value-add exports as well as enable a lower dependence on global supply chains.”

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