When people talk about electric vehicles, they usually refer to the advances being made in Norway or California. They think of the kinds of places that have put EVs on the map in a serious way. The Middle East, on the other hand, rarely comes up in such conversations. It’s still typically considered a place where oil is king, so why would anyone even bother with EVs? Not only is that kind of thinking far from the truth, but it’s also thinking that misses the bigger picture. Many countries in the Middle East are moving toward ever-greater adoption of EVs. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look!
Countries Pushing Forward
It shouldn’t be surprising that EVs are taking off in the Middle East. The region has invested in renewable energy sources and shows no sign of stopping. Why would it when solar is in such abundance and the technology to capture it continues to improve?
United Arab Emirates
In 2018, the Global EV Roadtrip (EVRT) took a spin through the UAE as part of the Middle East EVRT. The goal was to show how easy it was to get from place to place in an EV, even in the Middle East. 4 years on, technology and infrastructure have grown by leaps and bounds.
Dubai has worked hard to set itself up as an electric-friendly city with charging stations available for vehicles. At the moment, more than 300 stations criss-cross the city, making it accessible for the growing number of EVs there every day. The steady increase in charging infrastructure encourages drivers to more seriously consider the switch to electrified vehicles.
While not as developed as the UAE’s, Saudi Arabia’s EV market shows promise. According to Bloomberg, the country’s capital of Riyadh expects to see electric vehicles make up 30% of the local driving population by 2030. While little is yet known about whether the government sees this happening through carrot or stick initiatives, it’s a big step for the oil-rich country.
The Lucid Group, makers of the current frontrunner for EV with the longest range, sees investment in the Middle East as a good financial move. In March 2022, the company announced its intention to put together a full production facility in Saudi Arabia. It’s unsurprising that Lucid would find a home somewhere with such a taste for luxury goods. Hopefully, the same trickle-down that is bringing EVs from higher income brackets to lower ones in the US will encourage EV adoption across the country.
In 2021, Qatar began publicly outlining its strategy for improving EV infrastructure and encouraging consumers to adopt electrified vehicles. The plan focuses on installing publicly available charging stations quickly. Moreover, the country will make sure to diversify those stations across a wide range of businesses. In addition, Qatari public transportation intends to expand to 25% electrified in 2022, shifting to completely electric by 2030.
At the end of March 2022, Qatar hosted a Smart City Expo in Doha. Local and international businesses took part to discuss problems facing the cities of tomorrow as well as solutions to tackle those challenges. Unsurprisingly, sustainable transportation was included in those difficulties. Right in the middle of this meeting of minds and businesses was Ali Bin Ali Technology Solutions, one of the leading IT systems integrators in Qatar. The company understands advanced technology and aims to bring improved EV charging infrastructure to Qatar by partnering with Noodoe.
The cities of the future, those in and out of the Middle East, will find themselves tasked with the job of keeping local populations safe, healthy, and supported. That means knowing how to track air quality, analyze traffic flows, and provide EV charging infrastructure. Doing so will require cities to partner with technology companies that have experience and that know how to integrate seamlessly with both city systems and management, companies like Noodoe. Cities such as Doha are already working on the problems at hand, ready to face them head-on.
The Bottom Line
If there’s one thing the Middle East has learned from watching the rest of the world, it’s that good infrastructure sits at the heart of EV adoption. When drivers feel like they’ll have easy access to consistent charging, they’re far more likely to buy electric. It’s a lesson that’s been a long time coming the world over.