The Einride electric truck on display at the Technology and Innovation Hub at COP28 UAE in Expo City, Dubai, on December 6, 2023. The trucks will seen in action in the UAE next year. Image Credit: Shyam A. Krishna/Gulf News

Tesla may be the most popular electric vehicle on the UAE roads, but that hasn’t prevented other carmakers from jostling for space in the EV market. Several EVs were on show at the COP28 UAE in Dubai.

That brings us to the question: Why do we need EVs? Because they run on electric power, which is carbon-free. The future of sustainable transport depends on the transition to EVs.

Conventional motor cars emit carbon dioxide. And C02 is a greenhouse gas. A gas that contributes to global warming. So cars with combustion engines will have to give way to EVs to pave the road to a green future.

EVs garnered plenty of interest in Expo City. The dominant presence was Einride’s autonomous truck.

Electric buses ply the roads in Dubai, but Einride’s electric trucks will soon transport goods across the emirates. That could happen early next year, according to Robert Ziegler, general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Freight mobility in UAE to go green

He said the Swedish company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in May to implement Einride’s ecosystem. “The Falcon Rise grid will deploy Einride’s full freight mobility offering, providing over 550 km across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, encompassing 2,000 electric trucks, 200 autonomous trucks and eight charging stations with over 500 charging points,” Ziegler added.

The rest of the EVs were mostly cars. VF9 from Vietnamese carmaker Vinfast awaited at the entrance of the Science and Technology hub. The London-based Charge Cars displayed an electric vehicle which owes its design to the 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. Nathan Lee from Charge Cars said: “These are handbuilt from scratch. The body shells are assembled in the UK. They can run 320km on a single charge.”

There were several SUVs on show. The Volvo C40 was on display, so also the Polestar 3 SUV from the Volvo. Dubai Police has Polestar 2 in their fleet.

“I’ve driven a Polestar 2 from the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back with AC on. That was in peak summer. That car was rated to give 547km (on a single charge) in Sweden. Here in Dubai, I achieved 445km. Also note EVs get less mileage on the highways, unlike petrol cars,” Linden Erick Williamson, handover specialist, said.

BYD was there to make the Chinese presence felt. With opulence written all over, it clearly belongs to the luxury segment.

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The Indian in the room was the motorbike River, manufactured in a plant near Bangalore. Ranjana Meena, senior technical programme manager, said Indians love the bike, and River has sold 200 of them last month. With high petrol prices and traffic gridlocks, electric motorcycles could partially answer India’s pollution problems.

Giving company to River was Vletra from Karachi, Pakistan. The Retro 1969 welcomed visitors to the Innovation Hub. The EV ensemble was rounded off by a Formula E car.