Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Affordable EVs by 2027 is an electrifying idea

Filed on May 11, 2021

The argument that the limitation of technology at a certain point in time, hindering any advancements wanted or needed, holds up very well here.

Electric vehicles aren’t new. But with its sparsity on roads, perceived high costs and level of awareness on consumers’ minds (or lack thereof), the idea of owning one is, strictly speaking, novel. Combustion vehicles — those running on liquid gold — are, without question, still the leaders in this race. EVs, meanwhile, have a measly market share globally, barely three per cent; it also doesn’t help that the infrastructure needed to fully integrate it into society is few and far in between.

While technically the first electric-powered vehicle was developed in the 1890s, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that road-worthy EVs sprang into public consciousness; we have Tesla to largely thank for that, not only because of the Roadster but also the domino effect it created for its interest. But those dominoes were falling quite slowly for a number of factors — chief among them the three reasons mentioned at the beginning.

The argument that the limitation of technology at a certain point in time, hindering any advancements wanted or needed, holds up very well here. The cost of EV batteries, among other innovations, have indeed gone down over the past decade. For context, the original Roadster had a $112,000 price tag, an earshot of the half-million-dirham territory; today, Tesla’s most budget-friendly car is barely Dh170,000, and the cheapest you can get your hands on is a Mini Cooper SE Signature for around $30,000.

But this one goes beyond costs — the more important thing to consider is the willingness of societies to, symbolically speaking, drive into the future. EVs are indeed a solution to global warming and climate change, two significant issues reshaping the world order and threatening a more sustainable future for a world already grappling with melting ice caps and record-high temperatures. Governments, crucially, have a big role to play in this. Dubai, for example, has embarked on a major drive to put more sustainable vehicles on its roads: About 20 per cent of its government car fleet is already electric, and it has a goal of putting 42,000 more on the streets by 2030.

Bloomberg’s study this week that EVs will be as affordable to make as traditional gas-guzzlers by 2027 is a sign that those dominoes are falling steadier, if not quicker. In the six years between today and that year, it may be best to acclimate ourselves to the future of autos, knowing fully well of our role in ensuring a more sustainable planet for generations to come.

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