Admiral Mobility, a Dubai-based distributor of commercial electric vehicles manufactured by China's Geely, will unveil its first fully electric lorries in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2023.
The move is part of a commitment to make 5,000 electric lorries for the Middle East and Africa, and will support the UAE's sustainability agenda.
An initial 500 electric lorries will be produced and sold by the spring of 2023, with a further 2,500 in the next two to three years, the mobility unit of Admiral Corporation of America said in Dubai on Thursday.
Admiral Mobility will supply the vehicles through a partnership with Farizon Auto, the new energy commercial vehicle brand under Geely Farizon New Energy Commercial Vehicles Group.
The companies signed a strategic agreement at the event, which includes a further commitment for 2,000 electric Farizon SuperVans from 2024.
The first phase will concentrate on major cities in the Arab world's two largest economies, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh and Jeddah.
A launch across the wider GCC and Africa — particularly in cities with big projects — will follow shortly thereafter, the company said.
The manufacture of the electric lorries is in line with the UAE's sustainability efforts, especially in the run-up to the Cop28 climate change conference that will be hosted by Dubai next year, Con Unerkov, chief executive of Admiral Energy Asia-Pacific, told The National.
“At the end of the day, the commitment is there. It is a balance; you might have the commitment and everybody may want to do it, but it is also making sure that you have the infrastructure, from charging stations to being educated for it,” he said.
The global electric vehicle market continues to grow amid a government and societal shift towards energy conservation, with both the consumer and commercial verticals tapping into the technology's potential.
The UAE is promoting the use of green transport, part of its Net Zero By 2050 initiative. The country also aims to have 42,000 EVs on the roads by the end of the next decade.
Dubai has 336 charging stations, helping EV owners to travel further while cutting refuelling costs, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has said.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi hosted Mena region's first Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit in May, which gathered key industry players to boost the growing EV market.
Both the Emirates and Saudi Arabia have also ventured into EV manufacturing.
In October, Dubai's M Glory Holding Group opened its $408 million EV factory in the emirate.
Saudi Arabia has Ceer, its first EV maker. Last month, the company bought land worth $96 million in the King Abdullah Economic City, where it plans to build its factory.
The global EV market is expected to expand to more than 39.2 million units by 2030, from about 8.15 million in 2022, a 21.7 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to data from research firm Markets and Markets.
Its value is forecast to hit more than $1.1 trillion by 2030, from an estimate of $178.5 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 22.5 per cent from 2022, a study from Beyond Market Insights showed.
Tesla, the world's biggest EV maker, delivered its first heavy-duty Semi electric lorry to Pepsi earlier this month, but without offering updated forecasts for the cargo-hauling vehicle's pricing or production plans.
Admiral Mobility similarly declined to provide specifics on the cost of its electric lorries, as they are “customer-specific”.
The company's main commercial model will be year-round leasing, chief operating officer Frank Bernthaler told The National.
“We will not only offer the lorries; we will also offer the entire ecosystem. The infrastructure is in place, and customers can get it all out from us in one hand, with our strategic partners,” he said.
“We want to demonstrate to the UAE that we are in line with the green strategy and be a good partner when Cop28 hits because you need tangible things to happen when that comes.”
Admiral Mobility's 8-tonne electric lorry has a payload of 3,300kg, a top speed of 90kmh and a range of between 250km to 430km, according to its website. No charging times were provided.