The launching ceremony of 1500 KM Electric Vehicle Road trip from UAE to Oman, before the start on the last day of Abu Dhabi Sustainability week 2018 at ADNEC. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A nine-day trip of electric cars started from Abu Dhabi on Thursday with a happy news for electric vehicle (EV) owners in the UAE.

“We will open more charging stations [for EVs] across the UAE in near future,” a senior official said during the launch ceremony of the 2018 Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EVRT) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) during the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) being held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

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“Dubai has many charging stations and we will expand similar facilities across the UAE, especially in the Northern Emirates also,” Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy and Industry, said on the sidelines of the event.

A fleet of 10 electric cars will cover 1,217 kilometres across the UAE and Oman without a drop of petrol, said Global EVRT, the organisers of the trip.

The EVRT said the trip was part of their mission to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles for the creation of smart and sustainable societies.

Eighteen charging stations installed for the trip will permanently cater to the EVs in the UAE and Oman. The company installed the charging stations and it said it would add 50 more stations across the UAE and offer free charging to customers until 2019 as per a government policy.

“This is a revolution and we would like to be a part of it,” said Samer Alawiye, CEO of Green Parking, a Dubai-based firm.

He was referring to the incentives offered by Dubai government for new electric car owners, including free charging until 2019, free designated green parking, free electric vehicle registration and renewal fees as well as a free Salik tag.

Hotel charging stations

The 18 stations have been set up on hotel premises of Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) and its partners at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Sohar in Oman, and Fujairah, said Adrian White, director, brand partnership at IHG.

The company has installed 100 charging stations across the world, he said.

The organisers have urged the public to join the convoy in their respective local areas — as they will get a chance to test drive an EV and learn more about financial and other benefits of owning one.

Started from Abu Dhabi, the fleet, including a trio of Chevrolet Bolt EV as well as Tesla models S and X, was scheduled to visit Shams 1 Solar Park in Madinat Zayed in Al Dhafra region.

They will drive back to Abu Dhabi to charge before setting off for the 270km drive to Oman, passing through some of the UAE’s most stunning deserts and the ‘Garden City’ of Al Ain and arrive at Sohar after a three-hour drive and will proceed to Muscat.

On the way back, the convoy will visit Ras Al Khaimah before arriving at the Dubai’s Sustainable City for the EVRT Middle East Grand Finale and the e-Mobility Showcase Day on the final day of the journey.

Ben Pullen, managing director of Global EVRT, said: “The journey promises to be nine days of fun, educational and inspiring moments.” He said it will clear up any misunderstanding among consumers about EVs.


Petrol cars vs electric vehicle race

Abu Dhabi: On the way back to the UAE from Oman, the convoy of electric vehicles [EVs] will drive to the summit of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah and RAK Race Track where they will take part in a race.

The EVs will compete with traditional petrol power as the famous drag racer Doug Herbert leading the challenge against the Global EVRT team.

Spectators can directly witness the huge advancements made in the electric vehicle sector as the Chevrolet Bolt EV will race to 100km/h in just 7.3 seconds while the Tesla S, P100D, is expected to take the chequered flag as it can clock the 100km/h mark in just 2.7 seconds — faster than the majority of petrol cars on the market, the organisers said.