Red Sea Global drives Saudi Arabia’s green mobility revolution
As the world gears up for the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in the UAE, it’s a pivotal moment to reflect on how Saudi Arabia has been racing toward clean energy and mobility since the launch of its Vision 2030 program in 2016. At Red Sea Global, we have been in the driving seat of this transformative journey.
Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic journey over the past few years has been truly phenomenal. Surpassing the $1 trillion gross domestic mark, the Kingdom exemplifies how economic prosperity and environmental sustainability can coexist. The non-oil private sector, in particular, is thriving with robust year-on-year growth, making a substantial contribution to the nation’s economic resilience.
At RSG, we are leveraging this momentum to drive our clean mobility initiatives forward. Proudly, we have launched the Kingdom’s first fleet of commercial electric vehicles, achieving this feat in just three months.
As highlighted by McKinsey & Co. in their Decarbonizing Mobility Forum in Amsterdam last October, transitioning to electric buses and cars could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by up to 70 percent by 2050. Our acquisition of Saudi Arabia’s first fleet of carbon-neutral electric buses marks a significant stride toward realizing this potential.
Our team of 160 professionals is dedicated to expanding our EV fleet to over 400 at The Red Sea alone, with a similar number available at AMAALA soon. Our ambitions don’t end there. We are actively exploring hydrogen applications across land, sea, and air, embracing electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, and advancing autonomous vehicle technologies — all contributing to a future where clean mobility becomes the norm.
Our goal is to establish fully sustainable connectivity across our destinations, reinforcing our pledge to environmental regeneration
Our luxury electric fleet, featuring renowned models such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Lucid Air, provides a stylish and sustainable travel experience exclusively for guest transport. This initiative is a pivotal component of RSG’s broader objective to achieve carbon neutrality upon full operation. The Red Sea aims to be the world’s largest destination powered solely by renewable energy. Currently, five solar farms, equipped with 760,000 photovoltaic panels, are operational, energizing phase one of the destination, which includes the EV fleet and charging network. This strategic move is anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 600,000 tons annually.
Our goal is to establish fully sustainable connectivity across our destinations, reinforcing our pledge to environmental regeneration. This is exemplified through our partnership with ZeroAvia to develop zero-emission flights tailored for luxury tourism. Through retrofitting seaplanes with hydrogen-powered technology and collaborating with leading automotive, marine manufacturers, and technology companies worldwide, we are actively contributing to the Kingdom’s environmental targets while driving innovation in the luxury tourism sector.
On a national level, Saudi Arabia continues to invest in renewable energy sources to bolster its EV market. With a strategic emphasis on infrastructure development, regulatory support, and domestic manufacturing, the Kingdom is laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future of mobility.
The Kingdom’s commitment to sustainable mobility is evident with the recent launch of Tasaru Mobility Investments by the Public Investment Fund. It spearheads strategic investments and partnerships to foster the development of the local mobility ecosystem. Prioritizing the enhancement of local supply chain capabilities for these industries, Tasaru is strategically positioning Saudi Arabia to be a key player in the global transition toward clean mobility.
In November, PIF entered into a joint venture with the Saudi Electricity Co. to establish the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Co., known as EVIQ. Its primary objective is to encourage EV adoption in the country by building a network of 5,000 fast-charging stations strategically located across the Kingdom. The company aims to enhance the nation’s EV ecosystem by partnering with local entities for installation and maintenance, creating a more appealing environment for investors and fostering increased EV adoption.
PIF has been instrumental in catalyzing the EV revolution in Saudi Arabia. Through strategic investments in both local and global partnerships, PIF is fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation and growth in the mobility sector. Examples of this forward-thinking approach include the establishment of Ceer, Saudi Arabia’s first national EV brand, in collaboration with Foxconn, and its investment in Lucid Motors.
The Kingdom is experiencing a surge in demand for EVs, buoyed by government investments and ongoing infrastructure development. The ambitious targets include having 25 percent of the public bus fleet powered by electricity by 2025 and achieving 30 percent electrification of all vehicles in Riyadh by 2030.
This shift is not solely about technology; it’s about people. It involves job creation, expertise development, and fostering a culture that embraces sustainable practices. Our initiatives at RSG are not only creating thousands of jobs but will continue to do so as we expand our operations.
By the anticipated opening of Shura, the hub island of The Red Sea destination in 2025, we aspire to become the region’s largest single EV network operator. This goal will be further amplified with the launch of our second flagship tourism destination, AMAALA, in the same year.
The World Bank and the UN have recognized the crucial role of sustainable mobility in achieving global climate goals. According to the World Bank, the transport sector is responsible for about 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, outpacing other energy end-use sectors in growth. RSG’s initiatives play a crucial part in reducing this footprint, with our fleet of luxury EV providing sustainable travel without compromising comfort or style.
The UN has also underscored the significance of transitioning to sustainable transport as part of its Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 11, which stresses the importance of green cities and communities. Our efforts to harmonize environmental considerations with luxury travel and convenience, while also acknowledging local climate concerns, resonate with the UN’s call for integrated policies toward sustainability.
As COP28 approaches, it’s clear that the future of mobility is undergoing a profound transformation right here in Saudi Arabia. At RSG, we take pride in being at the forefront of this evolution, steering toward a greener horizon for the nation while setting a benchmark for the region and, indeed, the world. Our journey stands as a testament to the power of vision, the strength of commitment, and the endless possibilities that emerge when we dare to reimagine the future.
As we continue to break new ground, we remain dedicated to our mission of pioneering sustainable development. Our initiatives are a testament to our commitment to people, the planet, and future generations. With COP28 on the horizon, we are poised to share our journey, aiming to inspire others to join us in this vital movement towards a cleaner, greener world.
• Andreas Flourou is the executive director of operations, Mobility, at Red Sea Global.