How to choose an electric vehicle (EV) in the UAE
July 20, 2024
Automotive UAE

How to choose an electric vehicle (EV) in the UAE

Follow this comprehensive guide

In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has witnessed a significant surge in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), also known as new energy vehicles (NEVs). This shift is propelled by the increasing environmental awareness among residents actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The numerous benefits of EVs, such as lower emissions and reduced fuel costs, make them a compelling and informed choice in the UAE.

With the technological advancements and robust infrastructure supporting EVs across the UAE, choosing an electric vehicle is not just a matter of preference but also a strategic move towards a more sustainable and cost-effective mode of transportation for residents and businesses.

The UAE government acknowledges the necessity for sustainable transportation and has taken proactive and encouraging steps to promote EVs. These steps, which include various incentives and initiatives, significantly enhance the appeal of transitioning from traditional ICE vehicles to EVs for residents and businesses.

The government initiatives include free parking, road toll exemptions, subsidies on vehicle purchases, charging infrastructure development, and incentives for businesses to adopt electric fleets. This significant progress makes EVs an attractive and promising option for personal and commercial use in the UAE.

Major global automakers, primarily based in China and Europe, have responded to the growing demand for EVs in the UAE by introducing a diverse range of EV models tailored to local preferences and driving conditions. Luxury brands have gained traction in the UAE market, catering to affluent consumers seeking environmental sustainability and premium driving experiences.

The EV market in the UAE is not just growing but booming. With projected revenues reaching $272 million in 2024 and an expected annual growth rate of 8.21% from 2024 to 2028, the market is set to get a volume of $371 million by the end of the forecast period. This rapid growth is a testament to the increasing popularity of EVs in the country.

The UAE is anticipated to see sales of approximately 7,382 EVs by 2028, reflecting a growing consumer preference for sustainable transportation options.

On a global scale, China is projected to dominate the EV market in revenue, expecting to generate $316 billion in 2024. This underscores the rapid expansion and competitiveness within the EV sector worldwide.

Factors to consider

Follow this comprehensive guide on navigating the selection process for an EV in the UAE:

An automotive salesman explains the benefits of an exhibited BEV to a trade visitor at the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2024). Credit: Arnold Pinto

PHEVs and BEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) represent two distinct approaches to electric mobility, each offering unique advantages and considerations for consumers. PHEVs combine a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor and a rechargeable battery pack. They typically offer a limited electric-only range—often around 32-80km—after which the petrol engine kicks in to extend the vehicle’s range. This dual-powertrain setup allows PHEVs to operate seamlessly without the range anxiety associated with BEVs. They are well-suited for users who need flexibility and longer driving ranges without frequent recharging, making them a practical transition for those hesitant to commit to fully electric-only vehicles. In contrast, BEVs rely entirely on electric power stored in a large battery pack, with no internal combustion engine. They offer zero-emission driving and are often considered more environmentally friendly. BEVs are known for their quiet operation, instant torque, and lower maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts. However, they require access to charging infrastructure and have a limited driving range per charge, varying from around 160 to over 485km, depending on the model and battery capacity.

Range anxiety is a significant concern for EV owners, so research this aspect well before buying an EV. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Range and battery life: Given the distances between cities in the UAE, range anxiety is a significant concern for EV owners. EVs today typically offer ranges that can comfortably cover intercity journeys. Still, it is crucial to consider the vehicle’s specific range and how it aligns with your daily commute or travel needs.

A Tesla EV charging station in a shopping mall in Dubai. The UAE is setting up nationwide charging points to meet the needs of EV owners. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Charging infrastructure: The availability and accessibility of charging stations are critical considerations. The UAE has been expanding its charging network rapidly, with numerous public charging stations in cities, shopping malls, and critical locations across the country. It is important to note that there are different charging stations, ranging from standard to fast chargers, and their compatibility with your chosen EV may vary. Check the compatibility of your chosen EV with existing charging networks and consider installing a home charging station for convenience.

EV ownership can be economical. Credit: Michael Fousert

Cost and incentives: EVs may have a higher upfront cost than traditional ICE vehicles, but long-term savings on fuel and maintenance costs can often offset this initial expense. Moreover, incentives such as tax exemptions, reduced registration fees, and free charging in specific locations can make EV ownership more economical.

Exeed’s Exlantix ES EV sedan on display at the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. The model is due for launch in the UAE this year. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Performance and features: Evaluate the EV’s performance metrics, including acceleration, handling, and additional features such as autonomous driving capabilities, infotainment systems, and connectivity options. These factors contribute to the overall driving experience and satisfaction with the vehicle.

Tesla EVs are popular in the UAE. Credit: Steve Harrison

Brand and model selection: Research different EV brands and models available in the UAE market. Consider factors such as brand reputation, dealer reputation and reliability, after-sales service, and spare parts availability. Popular EV models in the UAE include the Tesla Model S and Model 3, Nissan Leaf, BYD Han, Audi E-Tron GT, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and Hyundai Kona Electric.

A Zeekr X EV on display at the model’s UAE launch event in Dubai. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Environmental impact: One primary reason for choosing an EV is its lower environmental impact than conventional vehicles. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, evaluating the vehicle’s carbon footprint, manufacturing processes, and overall sustainability credentials can further align with your environmental goals.

Expert insights

According to automotive experts and industry insiders, the UAE’s EV market is poised for significant growth, driven by government policies and consumer demand.

Albert Mahesh (seen) says the benefits of EVs are known in the UAE. Credit: Arnold Pinto

“UAE residents are increasingly aware of the benefits of EVs, not just in terms of environmental impact but also in terms of cost savings and driving experience,” says Albert Mahesh, an automotive analyst and professional 4×4 off-roader.

Real-life experiences

Some UAE residents have already switched to EVs and have inspiring experiences to share.

Ahmed Al Mansouri, a Dubai-based entrepreneur, states: “Switching to an electric vehicle was a game-changer for me. The convenience of charging at home and the savings on fuel costs have made it a worthwhile investment.”

Key takeaways

Choosing the right EV in the UAE involves carefully considering factors such as range, charging infrastructure, cost, performance, and environmental impact.

With supportive government policies and a growing charging station network, EV adoption in the UAE is rising. By evaluating these factors and conducting thorough research, consumers can make an informed decision that aligns with their lifestyle and values, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for the UAE.

Global automakers, such as KIA, offer their latest EVs in the UAE market. Credit: Arnold Pinto

As the EV market evolves, prospective buyers seeking to transition to electric mobility in the UAE must stay informed about new developments and advancements. This knowledge will empower them to make informed decisions and stay ahead in the rapidly evolving field of electric mobility.

Featured image: The latest iteration of the Tiggo 7 EV on display at Chery Group’s 2024 international business conference in Wuhu, China. Credit: Arnold Pinto

Last Updated on 1 week by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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