A call to prayer resounds and glides off the low foothills that cradle the hotel and EVs. Groups of dignitaries in sunglasses and suits pose for photos next to the chargers and the EV fleet: 4 — Tesla Model S’s, 1 — Tesla Model X, 4 — Chevy Bolts, and a BMW i3. Laughter permeates the sun-drenched scene.
It is the Middle East Global EVRT 2018. For 9 days, participants have traveled across the UAE to Oman and back to demonstrate the possibilities of electric transportation. Here, at the new 5-star InterContinental Hotel in Fujairah, UAE, on Al Aqah Beach, about 55 people across ages and genders, ethnicities and statures, gather to admire the EVs and chargers and share stories of a sustainable future.
In the same way that the hotel combines Arab influences with contemporary design, so, too, does the Global EVRT meld the traditional and the futuristic. Within the Global EVRT goal of accelerating electric vehicle adoption around the globe is a deep respect for political and corporate institutions that have come onboard with EVs. These are people who have engaged in significant self-examination of what had been fossil fuel-based identities. It is a transformation of 20th century movers & shakers to that of clean renewable energy advocates — which has meant setting aside the very hubris that originally propelled them to power and prestige. The epiphanies are humbling and refreshing.
Ben Pullen, Global EVRT Managing Director, greets guests. His smile is contagious, and why not? His company’s activism has resulted in EV charger installations in multiple settings across the UAE and Oman. The future has hope.
Chargers Invoke Curiosity and Enthusiasm
Bright green-and-white banners flap in the light breeze. Palm fronds, clear blue skies, white-washed walls, and serving staff in white high-collared jackets and black slacks set the scene. Guests sip “mocktails” of watermelon, mango, and orange juices, and some proudly don new Global EVRT white hats.
Standing between 2 overflowing bouquets of orange, yellow, and white roses in 3′ high glass vases, Pullen gathers the crowd’s attention. “This is a momentous occasion: the opening of another Green Parking charging station. After 7 days of road-tripping, we’re here in Fujairah. Thanks to the InterContinental team.” He stops to gaze up the hill to the towering tiled hotel facade. “It’s almost brand new, which is important to the future of EV adoption. New hotels in the future will help to embrace EVs in a key moment and consider how important they are for the EV infrastructure.”
The “golden scissors” are grasped in unison by Pullen and the UAE dignitaries, who then move to the chargers. The row of EV aficionados open the Chevy Bolt trunk, remove the charging cord, and plug in the Green Parking charger together.
Shading his eyes off to the side, a man speaking Arabic into an iPhone peeks into the BMW i3 driver’s window. A small wry smile inches across his face.
A Clean Energy Moment for the Sponsors
The unveiling of chargers at the InterContinental Hotel in Fujairha was one in a series of events in January 2018 that signified the beginning of clean renewable energy in the Middle East. Global EVRT is a grassroots endeavor with people who have a passion for zero-emissions transportation, as are its sponsors.
GreenParking: Dubai is on its way to become the Smart City of the Future and a Center of Sustainable Development. GreenParking supports the initiative to set up EV charging stations for zero-emission electric cars started by DEWA as part of the “Smart Dubai” concept introduced by the Ruler of Dubai. GreenParking offers a variety of different solutions with regard to EV charging systems adapted to each kind of car park, whether in one-family homes, communal residence car parks, public and shopping centre car parks, hotels, etc.
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group): IHG is managing the property on behalf of owner Al Ain Holding. It adds to more than 81 hotels operating across the company’s InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, and Crowne Plaza brands in the Middle East.
Chevrolet: The Chevy Bolt, the electric vehicle that first cracked the code on affordability and long range in the US, is coming to the United Arab Emirates soon. The Chevrolet Bolt EV allows you to enjoy a 520 km range on a single charge, without having to compromise on the modern comforts we’ve come to expect.
The Sustainable City: The Sustainable City is a working model of what the future could look like. It is a modern application of social, economic, and environmental sustainability in the built environment. Achieved through innovative design, stakeholder engagement, and future monitoring to sustain itself. The first operational Net Zero Energy community in Dubai is modeled to become an international showcase for sustainable living, work, education, and recreation.
Emirates NBD: Emirates NBD’s vision is to be globally recognized as the most valued financial services provider based in the Middle East. As a socially responsible corporation, Emirates NBD is an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development and community initiatives, in close alignment with the UAE government’s strategies, including financial literacy and advocacy for inclusion of People with Disabilities under its #Together Limitless platform. Emirates NBD Group is an official premier partner of EXPO 2020.
CleanTechnica: As the #1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world, CleanTechnica supports EV initiatives all over the world. CleanTechnica strives to be the most indispensable website on the planet for cleantech news and commentary. We have been covering the cleantech industry obsessively since 2008 — before it was popular for mainstream media to dedicate blogs or subdomains to the topic.