Dubai dealerships are in discussions with the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) to have electric car charging lines established on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway.
A number of access points on the 180 kilometre road would go a long way to cutting down on the issue of ‘range anxiety’ that is felt by many electric car owners.
K. Rajaram, the CEO of the Dubai dealer for Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen, Al Nabooda Automobiles, says that they want to set up a line and are happy to give DEWA the necessary equipment to allow for a quick 10 to 15-minute charging service.
In return, DEWA has requested that everything provided should come with multi-charging capability so that all brands of electric vehicles can make use of it.
Rajaram adds that they are working to ensure that authorities give them the required sign-offs, such as having current petrol stations fitted with charging units, so that the scheme can proceed.
Green charger points have been added by the local utility provider within the city, the number of which has now grown to over 200.
Users need to register with DEWA in order to get a Green Charger card.
New investments are being made in these charging points both by dealerships and the government.
They are being installed at serving facilities and showrooms by Al Nabooda before the launch of the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron.
Rajaram says that electric cars need to be supported by having the necessary infrastructure constructed in advance, and this will play a major part in how comfortable customers feel in purchasing such vehicles.
Completely electric vehicles currently constitute less than 2% of all new car sales in the United Arab Emirates, with that total being contributed to mostly by fleet and government sales.
Devoted Tesla buyers make up the majority of the rest of the sales.
A few other manufacturers have recently made tentative efforts to come up with their own cars, but even most of those prefer to go the hybrid route rather than making fully electric vehicles.
However, this could all be about to change.
Juma Al Majid Est., the Hyundai dealership, is doing much the same in advance of the all-electric Kona subcompact launch in Q1 of next year.
The Kona subcompact comes with a range of over 400 kilometres and has been voted the utility vehicle of the year in North America.
The general manager of the company, Suliman Alzaben, says that car manufacturers and dealerships have a lot to do to increase awareness among UAE and Gulf users.
Alzaben admits that perceptions need to better managed, if not changed completely.
He says that price is one of the biggest barriers, with most electric vehicles costing over Dh100,000.
Prices need to come down, but the only way for that to happen is for battery costs to be reduced and technology to advance, and until then electric car volumes will still be driven by the UAE government, according to Alzaben.
Anyone driving an electric, hybrid or traditional vehicle in the UAE will still need to take out car insurance to provide financial protection and obey the law.