Two thirds of drivers in the UAE would consider electric car switch, survey finds

More charging points and longer range of vehicles encouraging motorists to adopt

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More than two thirds of motorists in the UAE and Saudi Arabia want to switch to electric vehicles (EVs), according to a new industry survey.

With more availability of charging points and improved technology adding to the range of vehicles, more drivers are considering changing up to an electric car.

That is good news for the environment and the ambitions of both the UAE and Saudi Arabia to reduce carbon emissions, according to General Motors that commissioned the survey.

The survey asked 500 people in the UAE and 1,000 in Saudi Arabia of their general awareness of the electric vehicle market, if they would consider buying one and why.

It is promising to see the rising positive sentiment towards EVs
Jack Uppal, president and managing director of General Motors Africa & Middle East

Of the UAE respondents, 70 per cent said they were considering buying an electric car, while 63 per cent had the same ambition in Saudi Arabia.

Concept awareness of electric vehicles was above 90 per cent in both countries, while 73 per cent of drivers in the UAE were attracted towards a purchase due to long term affordability compared with 69 per cent in Saudi Arabia.

Combatting environmental concerns were the main reasons behind the desire to switch away from traditional petrol vehicles, as well as the rising costs of fuel.

“It is promising to see the rising positive sentiment towards EVs,” said Jack Uppal, president and managing director of General Motors Africa & Middle East in a press release.

He said that as the company progresses into the market and increases the variety of EV options, it will respond to the shift of consumer awareness brought on by the long-term benefits of ownership.

"We will deliver on our commitment to offer an electric vehicle for every wallet and every customer and driving this change towards a vision of future mobility across electrification, autonomy and connectivity," he said.

A look inside Abu Dhabi's new Tesla taxis

A look inside Abu Dhabi's new Tesla taxis

More than a third of UAE respondents (38 per cent) said they were aware of the location of at least one charging station, with 80 per cent saying there was a power point near where they parked their car at home or in a public place.

A similar number (40 per cent) were aware of a charging station nearby in Saudi Arabia, but fewer than one in five (17 per cent) said this was near to their home or work.

The study also looked at range anxiety among reasons why motorists may have shunned buying an electric car in the past.

Those in the UAE said the ideal range for an electric vehicle on a single charge was on average 325km, while in Saudi Arabia that lengthened to 360km.

The average range of an electric car sold in the US is around 300km, with improving technology likely to increase that further in the years ahead.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have strong ambitions to improve charging infrastructure in the near future.

At the end of 2022, there were currently 620 charging points in Dubai, with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority aiming for 1,000 public charging stations in the emirate by 2025.

In Abu Dhabi, an expected 70,000 charging points are required by 2030 to meet growing EV demand with an investment of up to $200 million.

Meanwhile in Riyadh, it is hoped 30 per cent of all vehicles will be powered by electricity by 2030.

“Each market will understandably have a different approach and timeframe to infrastructure solutions to accommodate for the mass rollout of electric vehicles,” said Mr Uppal.

“We are firmly aligned with the regional leaders on a shared vision when it comes to an electrified future of mobility.”

Updated: June 12, 2023, 9:27 AM