Will Electric Cars Take Off in the UAE?

21 January 2018

Lab Chat

The world is heading, albeit slowly, towards an alternative fuel revolution. Innovative technology is there for the likes of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to take over on our roads. The problem? Infrastructure. Without the right charging facilities, for instance, electric vehicles can never really take to the roads. Read on as we look at the case of electric vehicles in the UAE.

A slow work in progress

There’s clearly an appetite for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UAE, especially with new incentives. In 2017, Dubai announced free parking and no-cost tolls for electric car drivers. At the time, they said the aim was to have 42,000 EVs on the road by 2030. At the moment, however, that number is yet to start tallying up.

Since 2014, there have been around 100 public charging stations built across Dubai alone. That number is set to double as we enter 2018 too. “Dewa is currently working on installing 100 more charging stations to bring the total number to 200 in 2018,” said Dewa CEO Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer.

This isn’t just to benefit the environmental though. It could also save the drivers themselves money over time. “Dubai Government has set the tariff for charging electric vehicles by Green Chargers at a cost price of 29 Fils per kilowatt hour. This is a significant saving compared to fuel-powered cars,” he continued.

Choosing an electric vehicle

 

How about availability? The Renault Zoe became the first fully electric vehicle available in the Emirates in 2017. It can now be test driven and purchased in the UAE, after a year on the European market. Renault didn’t have to wait for their first sale either, with Dewa purchasing 8 vehicles for themselves back in 2015.

 

Clearly, the Dubai authorities are keen on setting the right example. This is in stark contrast to the UK’s Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), who were found to have purchased over a thousand disposable coffee cups each day in 2017.

There are alternatives in other countries. BMW, Nissan, Toyota and Honda all produce their own vehicles fuelled solely by electric. As of yet, these have not made their way over to the Arab Emirates. With charging infrastructure being built at a more ambitious rate, it might not be too long before these other manufacturers join Renault.

 

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