Electric and hybrid transportation on the rise in GCC

Initial users of emerging transport modes include governments offering green public transportation solutions and businesses using fleets of electric vehicles, says TRL.
 Akin Adamson, director, Middle East region, TRL.
Akin Adamson, director, Middle East region, TRL.


The GCC region is currently witnessing the emergence of electric and hybrid modes of transportation, most notably in the UAE, according to the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), a leading transport consultancy and research firm.

The company has further pointed out that pioneering users of this new modes of transportation include GCC governments that are in the process of offering green public transportation solutions and business enterprises that have started to operate an electric powered fleet of vehicles.

The development complements the results of the recent United Nations COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris, which highlighted the need to cut greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, by as much as 80 per cent in many countries by 2020.

In response to this call, the UAE has welcomed the COP21 accord to cap global warming--leaving strong assurance of a highly renewable and sustainable future.

According to TRL, the substantial adoption of electrified powertrain vehicles plays a critical role in the move to meet air quality and emission targets. The proportion of these Electrified Vehicles (EVs) are set to increase in the next few months and it is highly recommended that we take the cue from countries that have adopted these new transport modes to learn more about these vehicle solutions.

As such, TRL has identified this emerging market's key drivers, which includes vehicle availability; government incentives to purchase and charge vehicles; network of charging stations; public awareness and the desire to 'go green.'

Dubai has actually been witnessing the initial presence of a few EVs and have already established an initial network of around 100 charging stations. In addition, select manufacturers have already expressed their move to introduce hybrid or fully electric models in the UAE.

“TRL has long been pursuing an electric vehicle (EV) program of research and we have initially implemented a technology agnostic approach to all of our work-- forming objective views based on the evidence and facts we uncover through our research,” said Akin Adamson, director, Middle East region, TRL.

“Our goals in our EV research program is to identify the technologies that are likely to provide the biggest benefits under different conditions and develop an understanding of how the real-world use of these technologies may be affected by user and consumer behaviour,” he added.

Recent reports have clearly shown that transport infrastructure, particularly the internal combustion engine, are significant contributors to poor air quality, especially in urban environments. EVs offer an ideal solution for tackling current air quality problems as they provide zero tailpipe emissions, as well as grid-to-wheel CO2 emissions already below most internal combustion engine vehicles.

However, current EVs are far more suited to short, urban journeys rather than inter-urban and rural use. Range and utilization are constrained by battery limitations and charging times, so for longer journeys on strategic roads or outside of cities, EVs are often not yet practical.

This issue will be one of the topics to be discussed at Solar Middle East, the most comprehensive gathering of solar technology suppliers in the region, which will be held from March 1 to March 3, 2016 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

During the event, Adamson will be part of a panel discussion entitled, ‘Are we there yet? Electric transportation commercial and regulatory outlooks.’ The event runs in strategic partnership with the Government of Dubai and supported by a network of key regional associations, Solar ME provides direct, established access to MENA’s emerging solar markets.

“Regardless of the method chosen to achieve electrification, the concept of recharging vehicles on the move, combined with other initiatives, could play an important role in helping many regions to achieve their vision of becoming smart, connected and sustainable. In line with this, TRL remains steadfast in its commitment to provide key analysis, data and strategic reports to help these governments in their efforts to adopt sustainable and green modes of transport,” concluded Adamson.

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