As Dubai and the UAE drive towards sustainable mobility and do their bit to reduce carbon footprint, electric vehicles could be the future of transport as the country strives to achieve its green vision and climate action ambitions.
Electric vehicles, better known as EVs, are still undergoing an evolution but are gaining speed as the UAE vigorously pursues clean transport and e-mobility.
The UAE and Dubai have already invested heavily in EV infrastructure over the years and have rolled out plenty of incentives so that vehicle owners can make the switch from regular cars to electric.
Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority has already announced that EVs in Dubai will get access to free parking in designated slots and free Salik tag. The UAE has also set up more than 750 charging stations across the country and industry experts believe there will soon be an uptick in demand and growth.
“The biggest and most exciting part of it is when everyone changes to EVs,” Kevin Chalhoub, founder and owner of EV Lab, told Khaleej Times.
“We passed from horses to cars and are now transitioning to EVs, so it’s not about reaching 90 per cent growth; it’s about the speed at which we can go from one per cent to 90 per cent. Starting with the Expo in October, we hope that EVs won’t be a thing of the future any longer, but of the present.”
As a step in that direction, EV Lab, the first-of-its-kind omnichannel, multi-brand electric platform, is trying to create awareness with pop-up stores in Dubai, so that people can gain better knowledge of EVs.
“EV Lab is about creating awareness for electric vehicles in the region. We want people to have the chance to see, test and know why EVs are interesting and why they could be a good choice for them to purchase in the future,” said the Dubai-born entrepreneur, who studied renewable energy at Stanford and worked in the solar industry, before launching his start-up.
EV Lab had a pop-up store at Mall of the Emirates, where they had 30,000 visitors and are currently displaying four models — the Tesla Model 3, Audi RS e-tron GT, the upcoming Bolt EUV, and the newly introduced Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, the first plug-in hybrid, at Mirdif City Centre.
“Over 1,000 people expressed their interest and that’s more than the EVs we sold the previous year in the entire market. So, it is exciting,” he revealed.
”Dubai has always been a tech-advanced city. There are already very exciting policies in Dubai like free charging, free parking, free registration, and free Salik tags. These are exciting incentives and I’m hoping there will be more alongside Expo 2020, as the city is really embracing the shift to sustainable solutions,” said Kevin, who pointed out that the ratio of EV chargers is more in the UAE than most places in Europe.
“There are over 750 chargers, as of 2019, the second-most number of chargers per EV on the road after Amsterdam,” he added.
“I’m a firm believer that the adoption can be much faster. Especially in this post-Covid era, people are realising that collective action works. We have used masks and sanitisers to make sure that this pandemic doesn’t spread. Similarly, we need to make conscious buying decisions and exciting ones — such as EVs — for the pollution to decrease,” said Kevin.
Benefits of owning EVs:
> Latest technologies like full self-driving capability
> Acceleration (the Audi RS e-tron GT and Tesla Model 3 can go from 0-100kmph in 3.3 seconds)
> Travel range (from 400km to 800km)
> Ability to recapture energy while decelerating by regenerative braking, which in turn gives more range
> Fast charging (can charge in 6-8 hours at work/home using AC chargers; fast charging using DC chargers)
> Recharge once a week depending on the distance
> Low maintenance
> 10 times less spare parts
> No oil changes
> Zero tailpipe emissions (EVs save about 20 per cent of carbon emissions for every kilometre driven compared to petrol vehicles)
> Some are made out of recyclable materials, such as the BMW i3 model
> Incentives like free charging, free parking, free Salik tags, free registration
Models currently available in the UAE:
> Mercedes Benz EQC
> Chevrolet Bolt EV
> Chevrolet Bolt EUV
> Porsche Taycan
> Renault ZOE
> Audi e-tron
> Audi e-tron GT
> Tesla Model S/X/3
> MG ZS EV
> Jaguar I-Pace
> Peugeot 3008 PHEV
> Hyundai Kona