First UAE-grown ‘repurposed EV’ to debut at COP28

This innovative technology serves as a cost-effective alternative to the mass scrapping of existing internal combustion engine vehicle fleets

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Issac John

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Published: Mon 4 Dec 2023, 10:55 PM

Last updated: Tue 5 Dec 2023, 10:49 AM

The UAE’s first home-grown petrol-to-electric repurposed vehicle will have its debut on the sidelines of COP28 this week, marking a defining moment in the nation’s remarkable progress towards its Net-Zero goals.

Peec Mobility, a Dubai-based start-up helmed by a 24-year-old entrepreneur, Zach Faizal, is the architect of this breakthrough petrol-to-electric transition technology that will contribute to significantly reducing carbon emissions on the UAE roads.

For the Middle East region, this innovative technology is a path-breaking and cost-effective alternative to mass scrapping of existing ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle fleets and the manufacturing of new EVs. The technology repurposes retired petrol vehicles while retaining their body and chassis before transforming them into electric vehicles at 30 per cent lower cost and 80 per cent less manufacturing time than new versions.

The start-up, which was founded by Faizal in 2022, with an ambitious target to repurpose entire fleets of ICE buses, cars and trucks on the UAE roads, looks at electric mobility with a different, creative approach. “Today, re-engineering is quicker, smoother and greener than buying new EVs, and proves cost-efficient,” said Faizal, who promises to deliver a repurposed car at almost half the cost of a new EV. “For instance, an average electric car on the market is priced at around $52,000. Peec’s vehicles are aimed to be priced at 30 per cent to 50 per cent lower with the volumes we’re looking at. Thus solving the affordability challenge in the sector,” said Faizal.

As per 2022 data, there were over 11,300 taxis on the road in the UAE. About 10 to 20 per cent of these would have to be scrapped every year. For Faizal the scenario presented an opportunity to reimagine the taxi fleet in a more sustainable way. He told the Road and Transport Authority to give those vehicles to him for repurposing them as EVs instead of scrapping.

The entrepreneur, who was born in the UAE, got the inspiration for this game-changing idea while studying in the UK. For the past two years, with a single-minded dedication, he has been pursuing his dream of advancing the petrol-to-electric transition by extending the life cycle of retired petrol vehicles with electric engines.

Peec’s first line-up of reinvented mid-sized sedans and buses with smart paint job, Flyknit-style upholstery and retrofitted home-designed electric engine are now ready to be unveiled at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference. The start-up founder, who is assisted by a multinational team of coders and engineers, is on track to enable at least 500 of such repurposed EVs operating on Dubai roads by 2024.

“Our goal is to work with the government to implement this conversion at scale and create a replicable model from the UAE to the world. Our ambition is to support the UAE Net Zero goal. Through our technology of repurposing vehicles, we can aim to reduce 23 per cent of emissions from the transportation sector by 2030 with implementing a policy to repurpose just 5.0 per cent of the existing vehicles on the road every year for the next seven years,” said Faizal.

Peec Mobility seeks to work with more key local partners on technologies and business strategies to give new life to scrapyard-ready vehicles. “The most powerful way to spark change is actually before our eyes — in the vehicles we already use. Our model for public transportation provides a concrete response to carbon emissions: with Peec, the vehicles responsible for the problem become the most practical start for the solution. What we make is more than visionary — it’s feasible.

“To advance mobility, we devise technologies that are ready now, financially savvy, and effective. Waste is minimised. A new life cycle begins,” said Faizal.

Currently, there are 1.6 billion existing cars on the road globally. Manufacturing new ones and scrapping old ones would generate around 30 per cent additional carbon emissions in the process of the ‘EV’ transition. “Conversion is the most pragmatic route to Net-Zero. One we can succeed with our business strategy here, we will take it to other countries to redefine the used-car market,” said Faizal.

Since automotive manufacturing is highly capex-intensive, Faizal believes that setting up local ReFactories is the best strategy to reduce the capex investment through the EV transition in the short term. “The number one limiting factor to electric vehicle adoption is the lack of charging infrastructure, not the vehicles themselves. Our strategy and goal is to work with governments and bring awareness of the idea, until 2030, of investing less in the capex of the vehicles (repurpose them) and invest the bigger amount in charging infrastructure. And once by 2030, we have a robust charging infra globally, we can move into heavy manufacturing plants and gigafactories.”

Faizal plans to set up his first ReFactory in DIC to start production next year. “The ambition is to not only design, engineer, and produce the Peec technology and vehicles locally, but also to develop the ancillary automotive supply chain around us.”


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