Go­ing nowhere

Executive Magazine - - Contents -

Le­banon is ill-pre­pared for elec­tric mo­bil­ity

Le­banon is ill-pre­pared for elec­tric mo­bil­ity The lat­est move to en­cour­age the use of elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) in Arab mar­kets came in Dubai. Last month, the Dubai Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity an­nounced in­cen­tives for EVs that in­clude ex­emp­tion from road tolls and reg­is­tra­tion fees at the Road and Trans­port Au­thor­ity, and free charg­ing and park­ing at spe­cially as­signed lo­ca­tions.

The emi­rate ex­pects to have some 32,000 EVs and hy­brids on the road by 2020, and 42,000 by 2030. For Dubai, this ac­tu­ally seems a some­what small pro­por­tion, given that data from the past few years showed that ve­hi­cle sales were around a mil­lion, and ve­hi­cle den­sity is one of the high­est in the world at 540 reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles per 1,000 res­i­dents in an emi­rate with 2.8 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants. How­ever, when com­pared with other coun­tries in the re­gion, such as Le­banon, Dubai’s EV ini­tia­tives ap­pear strong.

Le­banon was once a pi­o­neer in terms of the im­port and sale of cars in the Arab world. Agents, deal­ers, and distrib­u­tors played a valu­able role in the in­tro­duc­tion of the au­to­mo­bile to Le­banon and the en­tire Arab re­gion in the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury.

To­day, about 100 years af­ter the com­bus­tion en­gine started its world­wide con­quest, the au­to­mo­tive era is chang­ing rad­i­cally with the in­tro­duc­tion of hy­brid and elec­tric cars. This al­ter­na­tive fuel story be­gan in the 1990s, when per­sonal trans­porters (like the elec­tri­cally pow­ered chairs for se­niors) and light EVs were patented, and a range of hy­brid cars was en­vi­sioned and pro­duced.

The grand­fa­ther of hy­brids was the Toy­ota Prius, which com­bined a com­bus­tion en­gine with an elec­tric pow­er­train. It pen­e­trated mar­kets around the world, and its suc­cess was most no­tice­able in

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