Abu Dhabi outlines policy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Emirate's Department of Energy expects high demand for EVs over the coming decade

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Abu Dhabi has released the regulatory policy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the emirate.

While uptake of electric vehicles in the emirate is still in its infancy, the emirate's Department of Energy said technical developments in the near future could result in increased customer demand for EVs, which it says will become mainstream in the capital over the coming decade.

The policy, released by the department on Wednesday, sets out the requirements and standards for establishing a network of electric vehicle charging stations across Abu Dhabi.

It includes the principles governing ownership, installation and management of electric vehicle supply equipment, power supply to the charging installations and the pricing mechanism for end customers.

Department chairman Awaidha Al Marar said the policy anticipated a progressive increase in the use of electric vehicles on Abu Dhabi’s roads in the coming years.

The policy also supports the emirate's Low Emission Vehicle Strategy aimed at diversifying the sources of energy used in the transition towards electrification.

“The policy for electric vehicle charging in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is a significant step for enabling the growth of an EV charging infrastructure in the emirate [and] is in line with Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification strategies and commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said.

“Given that the largest demand for energy comes from the industry, construction and transport, DoE recognises that decarbonising these sectors requires electricity from clean and renewable sources.

“Therefore, one of our main focuses at DoE is to support the transition of our transportation sector towards electricity and away from fossil fuels, and with the globally proven benefits of increasing the use of electric vehicles that are charged from the electrical grid system, we have built a strong economic and environmental case for growing Abu Dhabi’s EV and EV infrastructure markets.”

Range anxiety

The policy comes amid an continuing global move towards the use of EVs that are charged from the electric grid as more consumers look to transport powered by clean energy

The department said an important barrier to potential customers is “range anxiety” – a concern by EV owners that the battery will run out of power before they can reach their destination or a charging port.

The department said the policy would enable necessary investments into the EV charging infrastructure and help in tackling concerns about range anxiety. This, in turn, should also encourage consumers to purchase and use EV vehicles in the emirate, it said.

Abu Dhabi on Monday hosted the inaugural Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit. Industry experts said the growth of the Middle East electric vehicle market depends on the infrastructure and whether consumers are willing to pay to shift to more sustainable means of transport.

Nasser Saidi, the chairman of the Clean Energy Business Council, said investments in infrastructure were more effective and are responsible for about 40 per cent of EV sales globally.

Aside from the core infrastructure, “we also look at charging points, the speeds and quality of EVs, and if they are able to compete with internal combustion vehicles”, he said.

Updated: May 25, 2022, 2:57 PM