Lebanon is a country suffering its worst economic situation ever and yet someone there is trying to manufacture EVs this year, following a recent prototype unveiling.
Saudi’s interest in manufacturing EVs is rising and the UAE is showing a great appetite for buying them.
We start with the surprising Lebanon story, and one entrepreneur’s aim to get an early jump on the EV market and compete with much wealthier, economically robust Gulf neighbors.
EV revving in Beirut
During a presentation event in Beirut, Lebanon, carmaker EV Electra has unveiled Quds Rise, the country’s first fully electric car.
Jihad Muhammed founded the company four years ago. The staff currently includes around three hundred although branch offices also exist in Montreal, Larnaca, and London. The production will be localized in the home country for now.
The car’s electric motor resides on the rear axle and produces 158 horsepower. The car weighs as little as 1.1 metric tons and draws its power from a 50-kWh battery rated for a 450 km range. The manufacturer claims it can sprint 0-100 km/h in five seconds flat and reach 165 km/h.
Other noteworthy features include an aluminum chassis and a glass-fiber plastic body riding on 18-inch wheels. Customers will be able to choose from seven exterior finishes and six interior trim options.
A 15.9-inch display is provided for the occupants of the two-seat cabin.
EV Electra intends to launch the production lines and start selling the Quds Rise later this year, making around 10,000 units annually priced at around $30,000.
EV Electra also announced plans to install around 100 recharging stations across Lebanon, which could potentially be fuelled by solar and wind generation, according to Mohammed.
Saudi EV manufacturing plans
The $400 billion Public Investment Fund has been active in the electric vehicle space. It acquired a small stake in Tesla Inc. in 2018, and the PIF sold almost all its Tesla shares before an epic rally that began in late 2019, though it’s now sitting on big gains from an investment in rival Lucid Motors Inc.
The PIF and Lucid have been in talks about building a factory near the Red Sea city of Jeddah, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News in January. The following month, the carmaker reached an agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company and go public.
The emergence of battery-powered cars has inspired a range of new vehicle projects from startups to state-owned enterprises such as Turkey’s Togg, which plans to launch several EVs in the coming years.
Saudi Arabia aims to agree on deals this year or next to expand local manufacturing, the head of the kingdom’s wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan said during a briefing in Riyadh on Jan. 26.
“Now we’re in the process of looking at electric appliances,” he said. “In relation to cars, there is more than one project that we’re now looking at, and they will be executed this year or next year at the latest.”
UAE’s EV interest
New research from TheCarBuyer.ae reveals that UAE attitudes towards Electric Vehicles or EVs are fast evolving.
Specifically, the research found that women are key to leading the EV revolution in UAE with 60% saying they would consider switching to electric for their next vehicle. 32% of both men and women would ‘definitely’ consider an EV as their next car if prices were significantly reduced, while 43% said they needed more information to make a decision.
Amongst the population resident in UAE Jordanians were most enthusiastic about buying an EV (84% will in the next 5 years) with British residents in second place (54% said they will buy an EV by 2026).
In general, anxieties still centered around the availability of charging ports (59% were very concerned), the range of the car (67%), and overall affordability (53%).
On developing interest on the ground, EV Lab, an omnichannel, multi-brand electric vehicle platform, has introduced the first EV Cars & Coffee, aimed at promoting electric vehicles, to the UAE with the first event at City Walk in Dubai.
Over 55 EVs and more than 130 people rallied together to celebrate the first EV Cars & Coffee community meeting.
Several new models were showcased including the UAE’s first model Y, Fisker, and Xpeng G3 as well as Jaguar IPace, Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron, Renault Zoe 2, Chevrolet Boltand Flat 500e. Among automotive majors that extended support include Al Tayer, AW Rostamani, and Al Ghandi Auto.
Kevin Chalhoub, Founder & CEO at EV Lab, said: “With road transport accounting for 75% of the transport sector emissions, events like these will contribute to the UAE’s vision to reduce carbon emissions and push for cutting 200 million pounds of carbon dioxide by cars off the roads by 2030.”
China’s most popular EV sells more than Tesla’s
In March, the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV was China’s most popular EV, selling 39,745 units, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
That’s compared to just over 25,000 of Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 sedans sold over the same period.
The model starts at the equivalent of around $4,400, but a fully-loaded version will run you closer to $6,000.
The Tesla also costs almost 10 times more than the Hong Guang Mini EV, retailing for right around $39,000 in China at current exchange rates.
Global EV battery market share
Three South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery makers accounted for 31% of the global market in Q1, 2021, but their share has slipped since last year in the face of toughening competition with Chinese rivals, SNE Research said recently.
LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation supplied a combined 47.8 gigawatt-hour (GWh) equivalents of EV batteries in the January-March period, up 127% from a year earlier, according to SNE Research.
But the combined share declined from last year’s 37.8% as Chinese manufacturers expanded their presence on their home turf, the world’s top EV market.
LG Energy Solution, which supplies batteries to EV models by Tesla, Volkswagen and Ford, stayed in second place with a 20.5% market share in the first three months of this year, following China’s CATL with 31.5%, reports Yonhap news agency.