Intersolar 2017 shed light on Middle East’s rapidly growing EV market

shutterstock 146626955The Middle East’s leading solar energy conference, Intersolar Middle East, took place on 26-27 September in Dubai

This year the event included a special session on electric vehicles (EV), underlining their growing importance in the UAE and around the Middle East.

Intersolar’s host city, Dubai, is quickly becoming a regional leader in the adoption of EVs. A new incentive programme was launched by the Ministry of Energy in May. It will encourage motorists to buy new zero-carbon-emission electric vehicles through green bank loans, green insurance plans, attractive EV prices and green registration of vehicles.

“We are working on a roadmap to expedite a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 of carbon emissions,” said UAE minister of energy Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, whose plan also includes 10 per cent and 20 per cent targets for EV adoption within the government’s own fleet. Al Mazroui was present for the signing of 10 new agreements that will support the UAE in reaching this ambitious goal.

“The new platform is also good news for consumers,” added Al Mazroui, “because it is cooperating with banks, car companies and insurance firms to help educate potential electric vehicle buyers on the benefits of going green to reduce greenhouse gases in the UAE.”

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, also met with council members who together ratified a similar incentive program to promote the use of electric cars in Dubai specifically. Crucially, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will double its electric vehicle charging stations to 200 across Dubai to complete the second phase of their Green Charger initiative.

"Through this initiative, Dewa aims to encourage people to use sustainable transportation of hybrid and electric vehicles, to help reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector, which is the second highest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Dubai," explained Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dewa.

These programs have already sparked the interest of the private sector. Tesla is set to open its first service centre in Dubai, after taking an order for 200 Model S and Model X electric vehicles for the city’s taxi and government fleet. The police department there has commissioned a fleet of BMW i3 electric cars, while Volkswagen, Toyota, Renault and Lexus are actively testing zero emission vehicles in the region.

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