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2 Nov, 2022
5 min time to read

EVs are becoming increasingly popular around the world and the GCC countries are no stranger to this tendency. In this article we explain how EVs are conquering the Emirati market and how the managed to get to where they are now.

How It All Started

Just a brief history of EVs. The history of EVs goes back almost 200 years. In 1834 Thomas Davenport installed  an electric DC motor in a self-propelled platform that could only travel on an electrified track, and then in 1837 he received a patent for an electric machine. The first electric car with a rechargeable battery, called the Flocken Elektrowagen, did not appear until 1898. And at the end of the 19th century, La Jamais Contente was created, with a top speed of over 100 km/h.

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison

In early 1914, rumours began to circulate that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were working on a high-quality, affordable electric car.

Work on the electric car took place in the early 1910s. In 1913 a photograph of the first prototype electric car was released, showing Ford standing outside his Highland Park factory, and the following year a photograph showing Ellison sitting on top of a second experimental electric car appeared.

They wanted their car to have a range of 80 to 160 km, at a cost of only $500 to $750. Work on the cars took place in total secrecy, but the press got wind of the plans. Ford was forced to give an interview to the New York Times, and admitted that in alliance with Edison they were preparing affordable electric cars with next generation batteries.

However, by a strange coincidence there was a fire in Edison's laboratory in West Orange that destroyed all the documentation and work. Around the same time, Henry Ford began to produce cars with internal combustion engines using the assmebly line.

There are different theories as to why the development of the electric car ceased. One theory claims that Ford abandoned the idea of affordable electric cars under pressure from oil companies who set fire to the lab. Another theory links the failure to produce an electric car to the use of Edison's nickel-iron batteries in the car, which were incapable of powering an electric car under many circumstances.

Electric cars disappeared from view due to active oil production for many years.

EV Revival

Interest in electric cars returned only in the 1970s when the climate change issues and the intensive increase in world oil prices were brought up. Since the 2000s, models combining a conventional combustion engine and an electric engine (hybrids) have been available on the global car market.

A key milestone in the development of electric vehicles was the appearance of the Toyota Prius, which was launched in Japan in 1997. It became the world's first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle that became actively marketed worldwide. The Prius became an instant success with celebrities, which boosted the car's prestige.

However, interest in electric cars increased with the advent of Tesla cars, which used advanced technology. Following them, many other leading automakers began to produce electric cars.

EVs in the UAE

The UAE has been affected by the global trend towards electric vehicles. Among Middle Eastern countries, the UAE is the leader in terms of growth and distribution of electric vehicles. However, full development of the electric car market is being hampered by the lack of proper infrastructure, although development in this direction is taking place - the country is gradually increasing the availability of charging stations in residential complexes and shopping malls.

UAE Residents Consider Buying EVs
According to Audi Abi Dhabi report, rising fuel prices have led to a significant shift (52%) in UAE residents’ attitudes towards hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

The market for electric vehicles in the UAE is still at an early stage. However, it has grown significantly between 2018 and 2021 due to initiatives launched by the government, such as the Green Charger Initiative.

The UAE currently ranks eighth in the world in terms of market readiness for electric vehicles. The government is taking serious action to promote the electric vehicle market, which is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30% between 2022 and 2028.

Under UAE Vision 2021, the government has promoted the introduction of electric vehicles nationwide and converted 20% of government vehicles to electric vehicles, and by 2030 it aims to reach 42,000 electric vehicles on the streets.

Lucid Unveils High Performance EV
It does zero to 100 km/h in under two seconds.

Recently, there has been a milestone in the production of electric vehicles to meet the growing demand for green mobility to reduce global carbon emissions. Dubai Industrial City, part of the Tecom Group, announced the opening of a new 4,200 square metre Al Damani plant that will produce up to 10,000 cars a year. Once the main factory gets ready, it will be capable of producing 55,000 electric vehicles per year when the new facility is built over the next two years.

The UAE electric vehicle market will record growth over the forecast period due to increased demand from tourists to the country, which will expand car rental operations in the UAE, in addition to local consumption on the back of the economic benefits the government is providing to promote electric vehicles in the country.

reads the report published by a research agency 6Wresearch.

The report attributed the prevalence of electric vehicles in the UAE to the availability of infrastructure related to car charging and the availability of maintenance centres, which has contributed to Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s acquisition of about half of electric car sales in the country, and this percentage is expected to continue growing in the yaers to come.