Electric vehicle sales are “rapidly” increasing in the UAE, with EVs making up more than 1 per cent of the overall car market in the country, the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure has said.
“This is the tip of the iceberg. The options for those who are going to own an EV have increased significantly with aggressive competition from Europe, the US and also from … China, [South] Korea, Japan and others,” Suhail Al Mazrouei told delegates at the Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
“We need them to compete to reduce the prices of the cars [and] we need them to come up with innovative technologies.”
Demand for EVs in the UAE has continued to rise and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 30 per cent between 2022 and 2028, according to the global electric mobility readiness index published last year.
A report by consultancy Arthur D Little ranked the country eighth globally in terms of electric mobility readiness.
So far, the UAE has converted about a fifth of its government agency cars to EVs and is aiming for 42,000 on the roads by 2030.
The Emirates has increased the number of charging stations across the country by about 60 per cent to 800 in the past three years, said Mr Al Mazrouei.
“We are installing more [and] encouraging the private sector and the gasoline and diesel distribution companies to also enter into this business and start helping in the infrastructure and the regulation part,” he said.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has said it is aiming for 1,000 public charging stations in the emirate alone by 2025, an increase from 620 at the end of 2022.
Globally, electric car sales are set to surge by 35 per cent this year, helped by government subsidies and the tightening of carbon dioxide emissions standards, according to the International Energy Agency.
Electric car sales are projected to reach 14 million this year, from 10 million last year, the Paris-based agency said in its Global Electric Vehicle Outlook last month.
The share of electric cars in the overall market will rise to 18 per cent this year, from 14 per cent in 2022, the agency said.
“Some of the challenges we have seen are the battery technologies, the prices of the cars, as well as the infrastructure required for the EVs to be available and grow fast,” said Mr Al Mazrouei.
“We have also been engaging with so many countries around the world where they have regulated EV use and we have issued the smart mobility strategy which is looking at a wide range of mobility options in the UAE.”
Abu Dhabi is expected to need 70,000 charging points by 2030 to meet growing EV demand, with an investment of up to $200 million, Adnoc Distribution said earlier this year.
“We are at the beginning of the transformation and EVs will remain an enabler for many countries to transition to cleaner energy,” Mr Al Mazrouei said.
The UAE, Opec's third-largest crude producer, is prioritising the development of clean energy projects to cut emissions as it continues to pursue its net-zero by 2050 target.
The Emirates is building the five-gigawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai and the 1.5-gigawatt Al Dhafra station.
The Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant, one of the world’s largest single-site solar power projects, started commercial operations in 2019, generating about one gigawatt of electricity.