Tesla unveils mid-segment electric car as Dubai goes green

Arab nations including Kuwait, Morocco and even Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in the renewable energy sector

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The regional zeitgeist is poised for sustainable change. Record low oil prices and growing volatility has driven the renewable energy market in the last few years - with global investments up 4 percent reaching $329.3 billion, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Investment in renewable energy in the Middle East and Africa went up a staggering 54 per cent to $13.4bn.

Arab nations including Kuwait, Morocco and even Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in the renewable energy sector, so as to be less exposed to oil price swings.

While much of the region is looking to reform energy prices and electricity tariffs to offset the loss of revenues, Dubai as of late last year has launched an initiative to establish infrastructure to build electric vehicle charging stations.

The move marks the beginning of a long-term transition to encourage more drivers to shift from fuel to electric-only vehicles in the years to come.

The first phase of the electric vehicle charging project included installing 100 stations for public use. About 60 of these have been deployed in parking areas.

And ongoing collaborative efforts with several stakeholders including car manufacturers, airports, municipality, malls, petrol stations, hotels, Dubai authorities should soon cover the city with the new stations.

The electric vehicle market has made rapid strides in the last few years as a result of few companies leading the way.

Of the companies charting new territories, no one is doing it quite like Tesla. The company has been hard at work creating the boldest, most exciting vehicles seen in a while.

Tesla’s Model 3 electric-only vehicle was unveiled on March 31. The cultish buzz it has drummed up can be easily likened to the launch of the latest product from California tech giant Apple. With a base price of $35,000, the Model 3 is a key part of Tesla’s plan to produce 500,000 electric cars per year by 2020.

The automotive industry is tough on any new entrant and relies on pedigree. Tesla’s gambit to prove that electric vehicles can be just as good - or maybe even better than petrol ones - is paying off and taking the industry head-on.

The ingenuity at Tesla can be traced back to the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, who patented an AC induction motor back in 1888. His innovations dramatically changed the way electricity is used.

Tesla Motors, founded in 2003, takes his name in homage to his contributions to science and progress. At the heart of Tesla’s dominance of the high-end electric car markets lies its lithium-ion battery technology. Each new addition to the firm’s product range accelerates the much needed paradigm shift towards true sustainable transport.

However, adoption of electric cars has been very sluggish globally.

So far, most low-cost models - most of them hybrids - hold little appeal to consumers and critics alike. With poor performance and mileage, coupled with a serious lack of service support from dealers who understandably are vested in the more lucrative and popular gas fueled car market. Also there is no citywide penetration of EV (electric vehicle) charging stations.

Industry pundits believe that Tesla’s Model 3 will be the disruptive change the auto industry needs to drive more investments in electric cars. Car makers have already begun to develop EV models but the success of Model 3 could significantly increase interest and production.

It is expected that the new mid-priced Model 3 will have many of the same features as the Model S, which means it will no longer be competing just with the BMW 3- series and Audi A4.

All of a sudden, we're now talking about the Model 3 potentially competing with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, in addition to other mid-priced non-luxury sedans. Now that is a huge market. The Camry and Accord alone sold a combined 784,742 vehicles in the U.S. in 2015.

Electric vehicle sales last year grew by about 60 percent worldwide even though electric-only cars make up just one-tenth of 1 percent of the global car market today. But big car makers and tech companies are investing billions on new models and we will see giants such as Chevrolet and Nissan developing electric cars in the $30,000 range in the next decade.

According to new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), battery prices fell by 35 percent last year making electric cars well on their way to being as affordable as their gasoline fueled counterparts.

Electricity is also getting cleaner worldwide and the time is ripe for a mass market roll out. Reports suggest that by 2040, it is estimated that 35 percent of new cars worldwide will have a plug.

Tesla Motors says, “The future of cars is electric.” Trends seem to point in that direction. One thing is certain, that in the coming decades, the electric car will be a force to be reckoned with.

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