As I’ve noted a few times in recent weeks (including a moment ago), the World Future Energy Summit’s 1st annual The Mobility Conference is coming up (in 10 days). It’s also the kickoff point for the 2018 Middle East Electric Vehicle Road Trip.
CleanTechnica is partnering Global EVRT for both of these, so it seemed appropriate to have Global EVRT Cofounder and Managing Director Ben Pullen interview me a bit in advance, and then I will do the same with him. (He knows much more about the EV story in the Middle East than I do!)
Ben: The UAE has now laid concrete foundations for EV adoption. In your opinion, what are the main barriers preventing further acceleration of the market, and how can these bumps in the road be overcome?
Me: One key factor is simply EV availability. There isn’t much choice in the market right now, which means you can’t even really sense how much potential there is.
I imagine the public charging network could also be built out more to offer a reliable foundation for EV drivers without home and/or workplace charging.
Furthermore, policies to make it easy for new EV adopters to get EV charging stations added in parking lots and parking garages at multi-family residential properties are generally still needed all across the world, so I assume the same thing is needed today in the UAE. Policies requiring EV charging stations at such residences — and also at workplaces — go a step further and could really make the UAE a leader in this industry.
Ben: Where is the market currently at with infrastructure and what more needs to be done towards EV update in the region?
Me: There appears to be a decent number of EV charging stations in major cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but more 22 kW, 50 kW, and 100–350 kW charging stations in key areas of cities and along city-to-city routes would go a long way in making sure any EV driver would have a comfortable time living with an EV.
Ben: What are key business case enablers for EV infrastructure and what is required to attract further finance?
Me: The future of transport is electric. Early movers supplying the charging infrastructure needed for this new era or transport will eventually be rewarded handsomely. The challenge is generally “losing money” for a long time — perhaps several years — before getting those rewards, but that’s why leaders will be rewarded — because not many people or companies are willing or able to eat money for that long.
However, there are also other business models that could lead to quick profits, such as models that highlight and focus on advertising at the stations. EV drivers are often wealthy early adopters at this point, an ideal population for targeted advertising. EV charging stations are ideally set up for advertising as well — high visibility and potentially “long” wait times with the driver sitting in front of the ad. It shouldn’t be that hard to sell such advertising and to make a decent portion or all of the company revenue on that advertising.
Ben: What do you intend to talk about and share at the WFES/Global EVRT Mobility Conference in January?
Me: How quickly the EV market has changed within a few years, key trends underneath those changes, and what is almost guaranteed within the next 5–10 years. Also, as always, why electric cars are so much better.
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