Electric cars: Yay or nay?

Be it for environmental reasons or for fear of fuel prices, more and more people are rushing to purchase Electric Vehicles (EVs) for themselves. But what is the hype all about? Read on to know more.


Rida Jaleel

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Published: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 10:46 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 11:51 AM

At the historic COP27 summit held in November 2022, one of the most pressing suggestions made was to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions in the future. It has been reported that a whopping 24% of CO2 emissions in Dubai come from vehicles alone. Gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter infiltrate our environment and pollute it, causing health issues like allergies, heart diseases, and even lung cancer! Even though the UAE has consistently been rewarding environmentally conscious attitudes through varying innovative schemes, our current carbon footprint is one we need to be highly aware of.

This paired with the soaring fuel rates is now pushing more and more people into thinking about purchasing Electric Vehicles (EVs). Here is a quick run-down of the pros and cons of getting yourself an electric car.

The benefits of electric cars

Electric cars have become all the rage in the last few years or so and the reasons are hardly a secret. Today, many are planning on ditching their traditional vehicles and opting for Electric or Hybrid models. Here are a few reasons as to why this might be a good call:

Better for the environment

The four main types of fuel that cars use are gasoline, ethanol, diesel fuel, and bio-diesel. These fuel types are not only non-renewable, but they also lead to your car emitting carbon emissions that ruin our respiratory health, generate smog, cause other pollution-related issues, and affect the general health and well-being of our planet. One of the biggest advantages of switching to electric cars is its huge positive impact on the environment. As the name suggests, these vehicles are powered not by fossil fuel but by electricity and therefore produce no tailpipe emissions. They are healthier for both you and the environment as the negative environmental impact of using such a car is 0%!

Better performance

It has been scientifically proven that electric cars are quieter and perform better than combustion vehicles both with regard to acceleration and torque. Electric cars can be more powerful and utilize more horsepower as they have fewer moving parts than combustion cars, which can absorb more power.

Lower costs and maintenance fees

Today in the market, you’ll find that electric cars are more expensive to purchase than conventional gas vehicles. But in the long run, this difference can be more than made up as electric cars cost less to both run as well as maintain. While you have to pay in order to charge it, you will find that your electric car has better Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe) than a regular gas car. If you’re able to utilise power from sources that are more accessible and greener – like solar power – then this cost goes further down.

Today in the UAE, you would have to pay Dh 6.7 for 60 minutes’ worth of charge from a Public Charger and Dh 45.68 for the same amount of time from an Ultra Fast Charger.

Buying an electric car is also good protection against the soaring fuel prices that continue to fluctuate across the world. Car owners in the region are slowly coming to the realisation that since a good chunk of their income is dedicated to fuelling, a smarter lasting solution would be to buy an electric car and insure against the wavering fuel prices.

In Dubai, there are over 300 charging ports and if you register for the EV Green Charger Initiative, you can charge at public stations entirely for free! Having electric cars also exempt you from paying the Salik and makes you eligible for free parking slots in various lots. Even your registration and licensing are said to be cheaper than for conventional models of cars. So, the UAE’s commitment to rewarding environmentally-intuitive behaviour offers you a lot more financial incentives to choose an electric or hybrid model of vehicle.

Lower maintenance costs

Electric cars are sleeker and come with fewer moving parts, therefore, the general maintenance cost is also lower than traditional vehicles.

Higher resale value

Electric cars mark the turn of the century and are currently witnessing unparalleled demand in the UAE due to the aforementioned reasons. Due to this, the current trends indicate that an electric car can be resold for far higher than its gas counterpart – and sometimes, more than its original price! Investing in an electric model will make sure that you will get a good price if and when you decide to switch up models or sell your car.

Disadvantages of electric cars

Higher initial investment

Since electric cars are a relatively new phenomenon, the price ranges are on the higher end of the spectrum. While the difference might seem too big to bridge, the tax-credit incentives that the Dubai government offers to EV owners will more than make up for it in the long run. As the demand curve flattens and electric cars become more of the norm, prices are bound to stabilise.

Long charging times

Depending upon the battery pack and the range and model of the car, charging times can range anywhere between 30 minutes to 10 hours to recharge. Completely recharging your electric vehicle can take between 8 to 10 hours although it’s advised to top-up the charge rather than drain it entirely before recharging, in order to preserve its battery health. This is a disadvantage as refuelling a traditional car does not typically take more than 5-10 minutes.

In the UAE, there are three types of charging stations; Public Chargers, Fast Chargers, and a Wall Box Chargers.

Limited options and range

Being relatively new in the market means that your options when it comes to price, range, models, and specifications of EVs are more or less limited.

Finding charging stations

Your car running out of battery while on the go can be rather frustrating if the charging stations are fewer and farther in between. Luckily, in Dubai, there are about 300 public charging stations connected to various parts of the city, and this number is only bound to increase in the future as EVs rise in popularity. But, being stranded in remote areas or on deserted roads without charge in your vehicle or charging points around can pose to be quite a problem as these charging stations are nowhere as close to being as ubiquitous or high in number as your standard petrol pumps in the region.

To avoid this, you could have a dedicated home charging point that makes use of a standard EVSE supply cable and plug socket which would ensure that you don’t need to go hunting for charging points. However, this process is easier said than done.

Battery replacement

The life expectancy of an electric car is between 10 to 12 years. Fewer moving parts and a sturdier internal system mean that your electric cars can serve you for more than a decade if taken care of. However, batteries may face wear and tear in regions with extremely hot climates so, this should be a consideration to make before purchasing an electric car in the UAE. Replacing a car battery could cost you anywhere between Dh 7,000 to Dh 15,000 depending on the model and make of the car.

Not suitable for all cities

Another hurdle when it comes to EVs is that it is not the most suitable for regions which face frequent power outages and issues with the electricity supply. While this is never a concern in the UAE, it could be a problem elsewhere, getting in the way of your travel.

Today, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation regarding electric and hybrid vehicles in the market. Investing in one comes with pros and cons, but it cannot be denied that it is a huge step toward reversing and reducing the effects of harmful gas emissions into the atmosphere. It also makes you eligible for a wide range of benefits in the region. If you are planning on buying an EV, carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages and choose a model that fits well within your budget, durability, and climate.

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