Electric car vision: Prepare early for big changes

Adel Murad
Updated 04 November 2017
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Electric car vision: Prepare early for big changes

Some of the steps developed in some Western countries toward electrification of the motor car can be followed in the GCC region. These include building the needed infrastructure, taxation on the most polluting vehicles, incentives for zero-emission electric cars and legislation support for the necessary change.
Britain and France have put a deadline of 2040 for ending production and sale of new internal combustion engines. Only electric and hybrid vehicles will be sold new from that date. Shell has already launched fast-charging points for electric cars at three service stations in London. They charge most electric cars to 80 percent in half an hour.
The British government has introduced a bill to make electric vehicles charging points mandatory at all large petrol stations and motorway services. The Electric Vehicles Bill will lead to charging points being installed in about 8,500 filling stations, which would almost double the number of charging stations now in use.
The bill also deals with the issue of autonomous driving, stating that the insurer is liable for any damage caused if the car is insured and driving itself.
If not insured, and the accident is caused by the car when driving itself, the owner is liable for the damage. Owners will also be liable for accidents if they have modified the software of their car or failed to install important updates.
The bill outlines a huge investment in electrification and autonomous driving amounting to £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion). It includes ideas for street charging points linked to street lamps.
For a move toward alternative energy and autonomous driving, GCC countries need to have a vision of the timescale to apply new technologies, issue legislations that allow for their use and invest in the infrastructure needed for electric cars. Car companies have expressed an interest in assisting in all aspects of that change.
The changes to the motor industry in the next decade will be deeper and more disruptive than in the past half-century. The best way to deal with the coming upheaval is to prepare for it early.
•Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.


Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

Updated 06 March 2019
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Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

  • Diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution
  • Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion

GENEVA: More efficient fuels and more sophisticated combustion engines are needed to bring down carbon dioxide pollution and to secure the long-term future of Saudi Aramco’s business, the company’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
“The growth of transport is greater than the growth of alternative drivetrains,” Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Saudi Aramco told journalists at the Geneva car show.
The spike in electric car production in Europe will not offset an overall increase in global greenhouse gas emissions as emerging economies industrialize and buy cars with petrol and diesel engines, Al-Khowaiter said.
“Improving combustion engines is key to sustaining our business in the long term,” he said.
While carmakers have rolled out advances in combustion engine technology, the availability of sophisticated fuels has not kept pace, Al-Khowaiter said.
Diesel became an industry standard more than 100 years ago and has remained popular mainly because it did not evaporate quickly, making it safer to handle during storage and refueling.
“Rudolf Diesel did not consider fuels which evaporated easily. That was an accident of history,” Al-Khowaiter said, referring to the German founder of the diesel engine technology.
But diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution, which is blamed for respiratory diseases, forcing the industry to explore ways to cut emissions.
“We can now optimize the fuel and the engine at the same time. And we can bring it to market by adding another fuel pump at the gas station, just like it is done with higher octane fuels,” Al-Khowaiter said.
“We do the patents on the fuel development to enable the engines to be efficient,” the executive said.
Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion, resulting in lower nitrogen oxide and soot emissions and a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The petrochemicals giant is also helping to develop mobile carbon capture technologies which could be built into next generation passenger cars for around $1,400 per vehicle, and help to cut carbon dioxide emissions.