Published on January 10th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan0
The Benefits Of An Electric Vehicle Road Trip … In The Middle East
January 10th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan
As a lead-up to the upcoming Middle East Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EVRT) (which CleanTechnica is a media partner for), which is kicking off from The Mobility Conference (which CleanTechnica is also a media partner on), Dubai radio station Dubai Eye interviewed Global EVRT Cofounder & Managing Director Ben Pullen. You can listen to the interview on the Dubai Eye 103.8 website, or you can just read the transcript below if you prefer that. Enjoy. And we hope to see some of you in the UAE and/or Oman next week!
Dubai Eye: The road trip has been extended from 4 days in 2017 to 9 in 2018. It’s kicking off in Abu Dhabi for Sustainability Week, travelling across the UAE and through to Oman.
Ben Pullen: Global EVRT runs a series of events and activities with the mission to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, and we’ve been running these events and activities in Europe and the Middle East for the last few years.
Dubai Eye: What do you think the success was down to?
Ben Pullen: The Emirates EVRT in 2017 allowed us to pull together lots of different elements of the market to help to kickstart and accelerate what was already there.
Entities such as DEWA had already been building charging stations and creating the right environment for EVs to thrive here, and our event really allowed us to amplify that message and showcase the different vehicles that were available, and we actually built more charging stations across the UAE in Fujairah, RAK, and Abu Dhabi.
Dubai Eye: It’s the chance for people to see the practicalities of an electric car as well, you’ve got the charging stations now, is that important that people can see it’s safe enough to use, or reliable enough to use?
Ben Pullen: Absolutely. There’s a lot of myth that exists in the market and we use the event to debunk some of those myths. The main one being the range of the vehicles, and that has been an issue in the past, but I’m happy to say that all of the electric vehicles coming onto the market now have a range of 300 kms or more. In almost all journeys across the UAE you’ll have enough range, if you don’t there’s enough charging stations being built to allow you to drive where you like, and we demonstrate that by driving from Abu Dhabi all the way to Sohar in Oman and onto Muscat and back up to the northern Emirates and finally to Dubai.
Dubai Eye: You mentioned the range there, I guess there are two types of people whether they have electric cars or petrol or diesel cars, it’s kind of ‘Am I nearly empty, do I need to get somewhere’ and I guess it’s a difficult kind of mentality you need to get used to with an electric car?
Ben Pullen: That’s exactly right. So, with a petrol car, you really wait until the red light comes on and you race to the petrol station and fill up the car. With an electric vehicle, you have the opportunity to charge whenever you stop, so if you get home in the evening, you can plug your car in and wake up with a full battery. If you drive to the office, you can plug it in there. Anywhere with an electricity supply, there’s an opportunity to charge the car so long as we build more charging stations, so it’s a different mindset. It’s more of a plug in everywhere you go and never have to think about refueling ever again.
Dubai Eye: You’re setting off from Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, so it’s quite a good partnership, quite a good place to set off from?
Ben Pullen: We partnered with the World Future Energy Summit because it’s probably one of the best places that we could be launching from, a great event with fantastic initiatives happening there. And we’ll also be hosting The Mobility Conference, a one-day conference focused on business and government, helping the market to accelerate through bringing the right decision makers together.
Dubai Eye: Ben, you’re encouraging the public to take part, how can people get involved and join in?
Ben Pullen: There are a range of ways that people can get involved with the Electric Vehicle Road Trip. One by actually joining as a road tripper in the cars, and there are actually still some seats available. You can also join by attending one of the showcasing days that we have across the UAE and Oman, which will be taking place in Sohar, Muscat, Fujairah, RAK, and in Dubai as well, at The Sustainable City. The main objective here is to try and get as many of the public engaged in the event to experience what these electric vehicles are like, and they can then make the informed decision as to whether an electric car is something for them today, tomorrow or in the next few years.
Dubai Eye: On the journey, can you tell us a little about the cars that will be used and on display?
Ben Pullen: We’ll have a range of the Tesla vehicles obviously, as these are some of the best cars around at the moment, but I’m really excited to share that we’ll have the new Chevrolet Bolt EV with a range of over 400km, so it’s a fantastic car, and we’re really looking forward to putting it through its paces with the long distances that we’ll be travelling.
Dubai Eye: And of course part of this is to raise awareness about renewable energy, about electric cars to show how sustainable they can be, but it’s not just a project to display the vehicles and highlight Global EVRT, you are putting something back, you’re also building even more charging stations this year.
Ben Pullen: We’ll be building over 18 charging stations across the UAE and Oman, and these charging stations are vital for the Electric Vehicle Road Trip to go ahead. They’ll also be used by EV owners for decades to come, so there’s a fantastic legacy that we’re leaving from running this event.