EVs can alter the landscape on auto industry and its role in sustainability. Only thing that needs doing is speed up EV adoption. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The transportation sector has historically been linked with increasing rates of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and air pollution. In meeting the mobility needs of a rapidly increasing urban population, the International Energy Agency reports that transport emissions have grown at an annual average rate of 1.7 per cent from 1990-2022, faster than any other end-use sector.

Now, more than ever, is the time to mobilise action. A huge responsibility lies on automotive leaders to drive this shift; to look beyond just profits and put people and the planet first; and to charge full steam ahead towards a greener, more sustainable future.

At the core of the transition towards clean, energy-efficient solutions lie electric vehicles (EVs). I see huge cause for optimism in their role towards ushering in an exciting future centred on renewable energy, carbon-neutral mobility, and advanced manufacturing.

In my over 25 years of experience leading some of the biggest global automotive operations across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, nowhere else have I seen this ambition more supercharged than in the UAE.

Driving national sustainability agendas

The UAE ranks seventh globally and first across the region in EV readiness, according to the consulting firm Arthur D. Little. Their annual Global Electric Mobility Readiness Index revealed 82 per cent of residents are willing to purchase an EV as their next vehicle.

Investments worth Dh600 billion will supercharge clean and renewable energies as part of a historic Net Zero 2050 Charter by the UAE government, while the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure will increase the number of EV charging outlets to 800 in coming years.

Additional national initiatives such as the Global EV Market will create incentives for people to own EVs, while facilitating increased investment towards – and access for – EV charging stations. Leading by example, 20 per cent of the UAE government vehicles have already been converted to EVs, with further plans to reach 42,000 EVs by 2030.

Subsequently, 50 per cent of all cars on UAE roads will be electric by 2050 – an exciting growth rate compared to the current share of just more than 1 per cent of the overall car market in the UAE.

Wave of change

Demonstrating a long-standing commitment to sustainability, we aim to steer the UAE’s green mobility transition through our Al-Futtaim Automotive division and the recent creation of Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company to democratise the electric vehicle market. Bringing world-renowned electric brands, introducing our own charging solution, and bringing region’s first IMI-certified electric mobility training centre to drive EV aftersales expertise in the UAE are just some of the ways in which we have committed to sustainable action across our value chain.

Most importantly, we are setting out to deliver 50 per cent new energy vehicles (NEVs) and installing 10 per cent of the charging stations in the UAE by 2030, while spotlighting green mobility on the global stage as COP28 Strategic E-Mobility Partner.

These credentials stand us in good stead to build a comprehensive new e-mobility ecosystem in the UAE, one primed for exciting growth volumes and higher EV adoption in the coming years.

Ultimately, the future of business should be inextricably linked with the future of our planet. Public-private sector synergies in promoting clean transportation solutions are undoubtedly paving the way for a promising future of sustainable transportation.

We must all look at the industry holistically, explore innovative ways to develop this entire new ecosystem, and pioneer new mobility services that will support the sustainable transition.