An electric vehicle being charged at a charging station in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

While the adoption of EVs has been relatively slow in the Middle East, there are encouraging signs of change, particularly in the UAE. Right from the outset, the UAE government has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting electric mobility. One of the key challenges for EV adoption is the availability of reliable and widespread charging infrastructure. To address this, the UAE is making significant investments in charging stations.

In 2017, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched the Green Charger Initiative, aiming to establish the necessary infrastructure for EVs across the emirate.In the years that followed, DEWA installed hundreds of electric charging stations covering all major highways, residential areas, and commercial centres.

Additionally, various incentives such as exemption from road tolls, free parking, and reduced registration fees have been implemented to encourage the adoption of EVs.

Favourable environment

Major automakers acknowledge that the government’s support plays a crucial role in creating a favourable environment for EVs to thrive and will boost confidence among EV owners while attracting more individuals to consider making the switch.

Carsten Bender, Audi Managing Director at Audi Volkswagen Middle East FZE, says, “To accelerate the transition to electric mobility in the Middle East in 2023, arrangements such as government incentives, public-private partnerships, awareness campaigns, research and development, EV incentives for businesses, and collaboration with energy providers are key." He points out that the UAE’s investment in infrastructure, including charging stations, encourages EV adoption and supports the growth of the electric vehicle market.

“Additionally, car manufacturers are actively expanding their EV line-ups, offering a wide variety of models that appeal to different consumer preferences in the region. Audi plans to expand its full-electric line-up to 20 models globally by 2025, providing a model that suits any driver,” Bender adds.

Hasan Nergiz, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company also points out that regionally, the UAE is at the forefront of establishing and developing its e-mobility sector while being committed to developing a benchmark green economy for the world under the UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative. Citing a recent report, Nergiz says the UAE ranks eighth globally in readiness for electric mobility, and says it is no surprise that EV adoption has increased significantly in the past few years thanks to the various government policies and incentives in place that have been instrumental in bringing about this change.

“With 325 stations currently operating, the UAE has one of the highest charging-station-to-vehicle ratios in the world. To further accelerate the electric mobility transition, an increase in the number of EV charging stations will be of great importance,” Nergiz adds.

Green future

The future of electric vehicles in the UAE and Middle East holds promise. Government initiatives, expanding charging infrastructure, partnerships with automakers, renewable energy integration, and changing societal attitudes are paving the way for a sustainable transportation revolution. With continued government support, investments in charging infrastructure, and advancements in battery technology, electric vehicles are poised to become a common sight on the region’s roads.

As the UAE and the Middle East embrace the electric revolution, they will contribute significantly to global efforts in combating climate change and creating a greener future.