Transportation is a major polluter, causing a significant chunk of greenhouse gas emissions. Greener ways of getting goods and people around are urgently needed and leaders gathering at COP27 in Egypt must make this a focus.
More electric vehicles are expected to hit the roads soon, followed swiftly by electric trains, hydrogen-powered planes and more sustainable shipping. By 2035, the largest automotive markets are expected to be fully electric — hardly a surprise as EVs tend to be up to four times more energy-efficient than the internal combustion engine-based vehicles.
When Saudi Arabia announced plans to achieve net-zero status by 2060, widespread adoption of EVs was always expected to go up a gear. With more than 15 million vehicles in Saudi Arabia in 2020 and nearly four-fifths of these being cars and other light vehicles, numbers are expected to go up in the coming years.
This is critical because the transportation sector consumes more than a fifth of the country’s total energy use, claims the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center. The Saudi government clearly — and rightly — wants to promote EVs in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
The Kingdom plans to ensure that 30 percent of the vehicles on the roads of Riyadh are electric by 2030. EV adoption is also fundamental to meeting the Saudi Green Initiative objectives, which include reducing carbon emissions by more than 278 million tons per annum by 2030.
In pursuit of this goal and wider economic diversification, boosting domestic production of EVs has come into sharp focus: The Kingdom plans to produce 150,000 EVs annually, and just rolled out its first homegrown electric vehicle brand Ceer, which will create 30,000 jobs and add billions of dollars to the economy.
Offering a comprehensive nationwide charging infrastructure to precede the introduction of EVs in the Kingdom has become paramount.
The recent EV Auto Show in Riyadh provided a glimpse of things to come — from promoting electric mobility to charging technology and the infrastructure required to make it possible.
We were proud to debut Schneider Electric’s EVlink Smart Charger in Saudi Arabia for the first time at the EV Auto Show to highlight our electric mobility and sustainability goals, alongside Abunayyan Trading Corporation, one of the most trusted names in the energy and water space in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf. This technology helps highlight the benefits of managing heavy EV energy load and reiterates our priority on renewable energy sources.
This technology stands out with its smart charging experience at home, in buildings, for fleets or in transit, helping customers and partners set the path of efficient planning and execution of projects — by going beyond the charging station and getting a comprehensive solution for an efficient EV charging experience.
The Saudi government is ramping up its efforts to develop EV infrastructure in a bid to increase efficiencies within the EV ecosystem in the Kingdom. Strategic partnerships are central to these efforts and as a key player in energy and automation, we see great value in partnering with government-backed giga-projects and smart cities to support and power the future of mobility in the Kingdom.
• The writer is cluster president, Schneider Electric, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.