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.


Porsche could build flying taxis, says sales chief

Porsche logo. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 April 2018
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Porsche could build flying taxis, says sales chief

FRANKFURT: Volkswagen’s sports car maker Porsche could develop a flying passenger vehicle to compete with rivals in a possible market for urban air taxis and ride-sharing services, Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen told a German magazine.
“That would really make sense. If I drive from (the Porsche plant in) Zuffenhausen to Stuttgart airport, I need at least half an hour, if I’m lucky. Flying would take only three and a half minutes,” Automobilwoche quoted von Platen as saying.
Porsche would join a raft of companies working on designs for flying cars in anticipation of a shift in the transport market away from conventional cars to self-driving vehicles shared via ride-hailing apps.
Volkswagen’s auto designer Italdesign and Airbus at last year’s Geneva auto show presented a two-seater flying car, called Pop.Up, designed to avoid gridlock on city roads.
The magazine said that under Porsche’s plans, passengers would be able to have some control over the flying vehicle themselves but would not need a pilot license because many of the car’s functions would be automated.
Potential competitors to a flying vehicle made by Porsche would be German start-ups Volocopter, backed by Daimler , Lilium Jet and eVolo, as well as US-based Terrafugia and California-based Joby Aviation.