The Moment For EVs

Electric cars are a thing of the future, but is that future right around the corner?

By Kushmita Bose

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Published: Fri 28 Jul 2023, 1:10 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 Jul 2023, 5:18 PM

Imagine one day you hop in your driverless car in the morning, and since it’s a weekday it knows you want to go to the office, unless you instruct it otherwise. When it drops you off, the vehicle goes back home instead of you paying for parking.

The idea of driving several hundred miles without a drop of gas which was once seen as a futuristic concept is now slowly becoming a thing of the future, and now with the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) – soon you’ll be the passenger rather than the driver of an autonomous vehicle.

The global electric vehicle market has taken a tremendous leap forward, with the trend expecting to only grow in the coming years. The advent of autonomous vehicles brings forth the potential to revolutionise mobility by enhancing safety, efficiency, and convenience for residents. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, autonomous vehicles can reduce accidents caused by human error, alleviate traffic congestion, and optimise resource utilisation.

Embracing the Electric Revolution

With growing consumer expectations and advancement in technology, the UAE is witnessing a remarkable shift in the automotive landscape with EVs making up more than one per cent of the overall car market in the country, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said. Demand for EVs in the UAE has continued to rise and is projected to grow at an annual rate of 27.2 per cent between 2023 and 2027. Earlier this month, Dubai also announced that it would expand its network of public charging stations for EVs by 170 per cent by 2025.

Earlier this year, Al Mazrouei announced the launch of the Global EV Market, a transformational project that will underpin the country’s energy transition for vehicles. The project was announced in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. To support the Global EV Market transformational project, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) signed several cooperation agreements with Etihad Water and Electricity (EtihadWE), Bee’ah Group, and the American University of Sharjah, as well as leading EV manufacturers and investors, including Audi, Siemens, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, NEV Investment, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Porsche.

Through these agreements, the partners will cooperate to create incentives for people to own EVs, facilitate investment in the UAE network of electric vehicle charging stations, and install them across federal buildings and roads and MoEI’s truck rest stops.

Eng. Naser Al Bahri, director of the Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit (EVIS), said that the UAE’s electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly, due to the country’s efforts to build an advanced infrastructure and install electric charging stations. Al Bahri also affirmed the importance of EVs in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is also in line with the UAE’s investment in sustainable solutions and its strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Previously, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, which aims to transform 25 per cent of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous mode by 2030 saving Dh22 billion in annual economic costs. The launch of the new strategy will significantly reduce transportation costs, carbon emissions and accidents, thereby raising the productivity of individuals as well as saving hundreds of millions of hours wasted in conventional transportation.

WeRide Licence

Chinese self-driving company WeRide has been awarded a ground-breaking permit to test its autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the UAE. The permit will allow WeRide to test its Level 4 autonomous cars on public roads across the country with this authorisation. The signing of the first national licence for self-driving vehicles on the UAE’s roads to WeRide has been described as a sign that the UAE is positioning itself to be ‘at the forefront of the mobility revolution’.

SAE defines Level 4 as the vehicle's ability to manage all aspects of driving under specific situations without human intervention. This recent news is a remarkable achievement that paves the way for transformative advancements in transportation.

“The announcement marks a significant step forward for the UAE in the field of autonomous vehicles, and we commend the government's forward-thinking approach in embracing innovation, and creating an environment conducive to the deployment of self-driving vehicles. By fostering an ecosystem that encourages research, development, and adoption of autonomous technologies, the UAE is positioning itself at the forefront of the mobility revolution,” Daniel MacGregor, chief growth officer at Serco Middle East, said

“We believe that partnerships and collaboration are key to unlocking the full potential of autonomous vehicles. As a company dedicated to providing innovative services, we are excited to leverage our experience in supporting innovative transport solutions that will shape the future of smart mobility in the region. By managing complex operations and ensuring regulatory compliance, we support the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into existing transportation systems,” he said.

EU 2035 petrol and diesel car ban

During February this year, the European Parliament voted to approve a new law banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035. The landmark rules will require that by 2035, carmakers must achieve a 100 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from new cars sold, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc. The new rule - part of a larger effort to combat climate change in the EU will speed up the bloc’s transition to electric vehicles.


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