Free EV charging in UAE: Where to find stations, chargers for offices, top questions answered

The government has set a target to increase the share of EVs to 50 per cent of the total vehicles on the roads by 2050

by

Ashwani Kumar

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KT Photos: Ashwani Kumar
KT Photos: Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 21 May 2024, 2:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 May 2024, 3:06 PM

Keeping pace with the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UAE, the government has grand plans in place to make fast-charging stations accessible to the masses.

The UAE has been witnessing a staggering rise in sales of EVs. Last year, overall sales of EVs hit 11.3 per cent, a significant rise from just 3.7 per cent in 2022. The government has set a target to increase the share of EVs to 50 per cent of the total vehicles on the UAE’s roads by 2050.


Further boosting the adoption of EVs, addressing range anxiety, and accelerating the country’s march towards a sustainable future, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) and Etihad Water and Electricity (EtihadWE) launched UAEV – the first EV charging network fully owned by the government.

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While a few fast-charging units have been installed in Ajman, a full-fledged nationwide network of 100 stations covering all the emirates will be realised in the next seven months.

Where would these stations come up?

Badr Mohammad Rabia Al Awadhi, head of sustainability at EtihadWE, and UAEV programme lead, told Khaleej Times that the core focus will be on the deployment of fast-charging units at popular public places, including parking spaces near residential areas.

Badr Mohammad Rabia Al Awadhi.
Badr Mohammad Rabia Al Awadhi.

“The problem today is that people living in apartments don’t have EV chargers in their buildings. They want to buy an EV because it’s convenient but they face challenges of not having EV infrastructure. Here’s where the UAEV steps in, and goes to the public areas. If you live in an apartment, you will see a number of fast-charging stations installed at nearby public parking areas. So, you can go there, fully charge your car, and relax without having range anxiety,” Al Awadhi said on the sidelines of the Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit at ADNEC.

He noted that the majority of EVs have a range of 400km per charge, which is more than enough to shuttle between different emirates. Charging stations will also be coming up in strategic locations like shopping centres, highways, workplaces, etc.

How have locations been finalised?

Al Awadhi underlined that a comprehensive study has been conducted to choose locations.

“Yes, we have studied it carefully. There has been a detailed methodology followed for choosing a location. In a particular area, we looked at the traffic, the location, and projects coming there to identify a place. We look at the surrounding areas. Like, a location with a company with employees requiring a charging station, a retail area, a restaurant, etc. We try to locate these stations at a place where it can serve as much public as possible,” Al Awadhi said and pointed out that the finalising of locations is being done in collaboration with involved stakeholders, including ministries, municipalities, and other regulators.

Al Awadhi revealed that the charging stations will be coming up at petrol stations too.

“Recently, we entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Emarat petrol station. We have identified the petrol stations that have the highest potential for EV drivers to visit. So, we will go to those locations and install,” Al Awadhi said and noted similar partnerships and collaborations with Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Aldar Properties, and LuLu Hypermarket, among others.

Can you buy a UAEV unit or install it at apartments?

“No, we’re not doing charger installation at homes in residential areas. We don’t sell chargers. We’re not manufacturers but a charging point operator.”

Can companies install UAEV units at workplaces?

“Yes, we may agree to this. For example, there is a company with about 20 per cent employees with EVs. They can approach UAEV to inform about the number of EVs and their need for charging stations. We might agree to attend this requirement.”

What will be price points per charge?

While the services will be free until the end of the year, the pricing will be decided by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.

“They will be announcing the pricing soon. The rates and tariffs will apply to UAEV, and other CPOs (charge point operators) as well.”

24X7 call centre, app, infrastructure

UAEV has access to critical infrastructure like more than 2,500 government buildings, all highways, and key assets owned by EtihadWE, and the ability to scale across the seven emirates. The reliability of charging units will be ensured through top manufacturers of hardware. Also, there will be state-of-the-art digital platforms and 24X7 call centre assistance offered to the public.

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