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| 15 November, 2017

Why electric vehicles are here to stay

Image used for illustrative purpose. A staff member plugs a charger cable into Toyota's i-Road electric vehicle in Tokyo.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A staff member plugs a charger cable into Toyota's i-Road electric vehicle in Tokyo.

Shift towards EVs going to be increasingly important in coming years as cities continue to grow

Electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay, and they are here to grow, says Fadi Ghosn, chief marketing officer at Nissan Motors Middle East.

Speaking at the live talks at the Dubai International Motor Show 2017, Ghosn noted that when it comes to electric vehicles in the region, there is one thing that needs to be focused on, and that is "what's working now and putting strategies in place about what is to come".

"An EV doesn't need to be boring. Today, you have sports cars that are electric, but at the same time you have [EVs] that look like every other ordinary car that you would find on the road. The challenge right now is creating legislation and providing incentives for people to use them on the roads," he said.

The shift towards electric cars is going to be increasingly important in the coming years as cities continue to grow. "We know that as cities today grow, there is going to be a lot of pressure on the air, so EV will provide a good platform for relief due to their zero emissions. There is already a lot of work that is being done towards this end in terms of investments globally - in 2016, around $250 billion was spent on renewable energy - and it is clear that the shift will be towards EVs," he said.

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Shehab Gargash, CEO and managing director of Gargash Group, however, said that there is still a lot more to be done in the eco-friendly car segment.

"The big question is not if, but when the move to electric is going to take place. You hear everything from 10-40 years; my guess is that 20 years from now, you're going to see electric vehicles being a significant part of the automotive world. And, we are seeing various approaches to it."

The big proof of concept, he said, was Tesla. "Before, the idea was that electric cars were environmentally friendly and green city cars. Tesla has proven that wrong and said that electric cars are for everyone. They have shown us the path about where the industry is heading and this has forced many companies to change their pace and aggressively pursue the electric cars division. You can already see it in Dubai - if you go to any of the major car showrooms they will show you their electric cars division."

Demand, he said, is aided by what customers are seeing around them. "If they see that the proper infrastructure is there, such as charging stations, free parking, no Salik and such, then they are more likely to be keen about the idea of having an electric car. Again, it is not if you will embrace the idea of electric cars, but how early you will adopt it. Drivers in Dubai will embrace it earlier, because the infrastructure is there. I feel that Dubai will be a pioneering market for next generation electric mobility simply because of the support and vision of the governments and the investments in proper infrastructure.

Rohma Sadaqat
I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube. 

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