'Just like a phone': Now, charge EVs in 15 mins at some petrol stations across UAE

The company is aiming to have anywhere between 150 to 200 EV chargers by the end of this year and looking at up to 500 units by 2028


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 28 May 2024, 7:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 28 May 2024, 10:30 PM

Charging electric vehicles (EVs) has become quicker and easier with innovative technology that has been introduced by Adnoc Distribution at its fuel stations in the UAE.

Currently, the UAE’s largest fuel and convenience retailer has 90 fast and super-fast EV chargers installed at its fuel stations across all emirates. Recently, the company has launched a ‘Plug in and Charge’ initiative for EVs in line with its successful ‘Fill and Go’ model for filling petrol.

“Today, we have 90 fast and superfast EV chargers across the seven emirates. It’s strategically located on highways and key residential areas. Our customer can charge their car's battery within 15 to 20 minutes,” Bader Saeed Al Lamki, CEO of Adnoc Distribution, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the 'Make it in the Emirates Forum' in Abu Dhabi.

The company is aiming to have anywhere between 150 to 200 EV chargers by the end of this year and looking at up to 500 units by 2028.

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‘Plug and Charge’ initiative

Asked about the innovative AI model, Al Lamki noted that the ‘Plug in and Charge’ initiative is part of several innovations, including the new robotic arm fuelling vehicles at stations.

“You’ve recently seen the automatic robotic fuelling arm. You’ve seen the ‘Fill and Go’ concept whereby through a one-time setting on our Adnoc app, you are able to revisit our station, and the technology will recognise you through your car plate number and your pre-setting, the service will be provided to you in terms of the fuel type, the amount of fuelling you want, and any pre-order from the store to come to the convenience of your car,” Al Lamki said about the AI-powered solution launched last year utilising computer vision, smart cameras, and machine learning to recognise vehicles to offer personalised fuelling experience.

The CEO noted that a similar AI technology model has been extended to EV chargers now.

“Recently, we’ve launched ‘Plug in and Charge’. Again, it’s a one-time setting. The EV car owner will come to the EV chargers. And now they just need to put the nozzle in the car, and the charger recognises the car through the algorithms and enables the charging the car,” Al Lamki said about the ease of super-fast charging an EV like a smartphone, and the innovative technology that stores a customer’s data to automatically process the charging process and type.

The technology can be accessed through the official app or Apple Watch.

“You can monitor the charging while having a coffee at the store with the WiFi, or go to the restroom. AI is the name of the game. It is the heart of what we want to do for the future. And the key for us is to enhance the customer experience and hopefully gain their loyalty.”

How ‘Plug in and Charge’ works

On their first use, a customer needs to feed personal data into the app, like vehicle number and details, and payment method. Then scan the charger unit’s QR code to connect it with your vehicle. This will help set up ‘Plug in and Charge’ on the app. And on your next visit, just by plugging in the car, the process will start automatically.

15 to 20 new fuel stations

The company has opened as many as 8 fuel service stations in the first quarter of this year, expanding the total network to 846, and plans to add 15-20 more stations by the end of the year.

Al Lamki underlined that the priority is on “delivering quality over quantity” to community members.

“We’re always trying to find the right location, the right market segment whereby these stations will add value to us, the communities, and the customers we serve. We have the lion’s share of the market when it comes to the number of stations in the UAE with 67 per cent spread across the seven emirates. We are very selective about where we go.”

High-capacity car wash tunnels

Al Lamki noted that capital has been allotted towards non-fuel growth avenues, including upgrading the car wash fleet and adding new high-capacity car wash tunnels to enhance speed and efficiency.

“We are upgrading car wash offerings, adding new customer experience and technology to enhance speed and efficiency. Customers will be served in the shortest period of time with the highest quality. So, there is a programme to refurbish at least 50 per cent of our car wash fleet by the end of the year.”

Destination of choice

Al Lamki revealed that the focus is also on bolstering the number of quick service restaurants (QSRs) at the service stations. “We want to convert and divert our thinking and our DNA from a service station location for fueling to a community hub and a destination where the customers would come and avail an array of services, and it becomes a destination for them to return. Of course, we also reward them through our Adnoc reward points. We’re ensuring that our stations are destinations of choice.”


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