Panel Discussion: Green Mobility in the MENA region Challenges vs Opportunities

The CEBC Clean Energy Annual Summit is our flagship event of the year where experts and industry leaders from across the globe come together to discuss the clean energy trends, challenges, opportunities and outlook. The summit focuses on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.

Key takeaways from the panel:

– The number of EVs in the region is lower than worldwide. More than a million EVs were sold worldwide last year, but just 1000 in the GCC. The GCC has less than 5000 electric cars, this number needs to increase substantially. There is no business case for rolling out a network of 1000-3000 chargers since there are not many cars, but this will change.

– EVs are an important part of meeting global goals on climate change and in limiting air pollution. 5 million people die every year because of air pollution, compared to 1 million people that have died because of Covid-19 so far. The main cause is combustion from industries but also from combustion engine cars.

– The perception that infrastructure is insufficient is a misconception. The UAE has the world record in terms of ratio of chargers to cars. Infrastructure is not a problem now, but it will become a problem in the future when we have more cars.

– The challenge lies in convincing the public to convert to EVs. If a charging station can be comparable to a fuel station in terms of time, that’s when demand will pick up. Users are more likely to engage in eco-friendly behavior that requires less sacrifice. Charging point operators need to invest heavily in DC chargers for that reason.

– While the capex of EVs is higher, the cost over time and operating costs are lower. Fuel in the region is cheap but compared to a charge of electricity, its 40% to the cost of a tank of fuel per km, and over time the amount saved is between 50 to 55%.

– From a manufacturing point of view, demand has to be created and policy and regulations are needed to incentivize that demand. The main consumers are retail and fleet. Fleet consumers can put a lot of EVs on the road. Regulations are difficult to get approval for electric vehicles, so we need policy and regulations. Without it, it won’t drive the market.

– It is important to mitigate risk from investment and create a sound business case.

– Public-private partnerships may offer a promising way forward and accelerate the development of charging infrastructure. This has not been commonly adopted yet.

– Convenience keeps people in what they are used to. We need to focus on the next generation, they will behave in a different manner, use a lot more public transport and car sharing.

This summit is organized by the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC). The CEBC is a non profit organization dedicated to promoting clean energy including renewables, energy efficiency, smart grid, energy storage and clean energy technology and solutions for the environmental sector. CEBC provides a platform to further dialogue between the public and private sectors to develop much needed policy and regulation to help drive the implementation of clean energy across the MENA region. Thank you to the summit Gold sponsors Pinsent Masons, Standard Chartered, GreenParking, CATEC Mobility, CITA, ESB International and Enova and Bronze sponsors Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), SCAME, Hager Group and Lockton.