Ensuring a long drive for electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia

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Updated 27 November 2022

Ensuring a long drive for electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia

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.


Altawkilat Motors delivers 25 Chevrolet EVs to Sixt Rent A Car

Updated 01 February 2023

Altawkilat Motors delivers 25 Chevrolet EVs to Sixt Rent A Car

Altawkilat Universal Motors, Chevrolet’s dealer partner in Saudi Arabia, signed a deal with Sixt Rent A Car to onboard 25 Chevrolet Bolt EUVs to their fleet. The deal marks the first for a Chevrolet electric vehicle in the Kingdom, and reinforces General Motors’ “EVerybody In” strategy, which aims to deliver the broadest range of EVs in the region across the Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac brands, from accessible motors to luxury vehicles.

It also comes in the backdrop of Chevrolet’s constant efforts to drive awareness toward the adoption of electric vehicles. 

The deal is in line with Saudi Vision 2030, which supports the conversion to clean and renewable energy sources, and the encouragement given to companies to adopt policies and provide products and solutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions and using sustainable means of transportation. Echoing the Kingdom on this bold ambition, General Motors aims to launch 13 EV models in the Middle East by 2025, bringing more options to encourage drivers to shift to electric.

The final fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EUVs were handed over to Sixt during a ceremony at Altawkilat headquarters in Jeddah, in the presence of Khaled Abu Shaaban, general manager of Altawkilat Universal Motors — Chevrolet and GMC, and Adie Younis, director of supply chain and corporate projects at Sixt Saudi Arabia. 

Commenting on the agreement, Abu Shaaban said: “We are committed to delivering sustainable and dependable transport solutions across Saudi Arabia, which is one of the most important strategic markets for General Motors in the Middle East. We are proud that this deal is the first for a Chevrolet EV model in Saudi Arabia, demonstrating our commitment to providing clean transport to our customers with no compromise on performance.”

Meanwhile, Younis said: “In line with our strategic initiatives toward serving our clients by providing means of transportation with zero-carbon emissions, the Chevrolet brand and its Bolt EUV model have been chosen, being one of the prominent brands with excellent reputation and well-known reliability. It is also represented by one of the first and most prestigious automotive dealerships in Saudi Arabia.”

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV is distinguished by providing a lot of space for passengers and cargo in a region defined by its love for big vehicles. Offering class-leading electric range on a full charge, the Bolt EUV needs to be recharged about as often as a petrol car needs to refuel, making it the ideal EV for all types of lifestyles.


Nesma & Partners signs MoU with Tarmeem for Saudi Contracting Pioneers Initiative at iktva 2023

Updated 01 February 2023

Nesma & Partners signs MoU with Tarmeem for Saudi Contracting Pioneers Initiative at iktva 2023

Nesma and Partners, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading EPC contracting companies, has signed an MoU partnering with Tarmeem in the Saudi Contracting Pioneers Initiative at iktva 2023 Forum and Exhibition, where Nesma and Partners is participating as a platinum sponsor. 

The initiative seeks to elevate the quality and quantity of renovation projects in the Kingdom, support local startup contractors, and contribute to the local content. It aims to establish a framework for startup contracting companies in maintenance and rehabilitation in the construction sector. 

According to the agreement, Nesma and Partners will partner with Tarmeem to attract and support several local startup contracting companies, to create a positive impact by renovating and rehabilitating houses for families most in need. The initiative will attract 10 contractors in its first phase, which will target renovating 50 houses and comprise 25 percent of Tarmeem’s goals for 2023. Nesma and Partners will provide training and advisory support regarding the technical and legal aspects of the startup companies participating in this initiative to ensure their organizational and technical development. Nesma and Partners and Tarmeem hope this initiative will have an additional impact on supporting local content by adopting restoration material from emerging local building material companies. 

It is worth noting that since the inception of their strategic partnership, Tarmeem has rehabilitated more than 80 houses sponsored by Nesma and Partners.

The signing ceremony took place during iktva 2023, a leading global energy supply chain event in the Kingdom organized by Saudi Aramco, being held at the Dhahran Expo from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. Nesma and Partners’ Board Member and Chair of Executive Committee Rami Alturki signed the agreement with Chairman of Tarmeem Hamad Alkhaldi, in the presence of other officials and dignitaries from both sides. 

Samer Abdul Samad, president and CEO of Nesma and Partners, said: “We are immensely proud to sign this agreement with Tarmeem.” 

It is a great opportunity for us to bolster startup contractors’ positive impacts and establish new synergies toward realizing our mission of localizing opportunities and value while supporting sustainable socioeconomic development in the Kingdom.”

He added: “This initiative highlights the importance of in-Kingdom contribution as a pillar toward our company’s strategy for growth. We also continue maximizing the localization of our supply chain, with our total procurement from local vendors reaching 40 percent in the past few years. And today, our efforts toward in-Kingdom total value add were rewarded by receiving the ‘Best in Overall iktva’ award in the construction sector.” 

“We shall continue to support sustainable development in the Kingdom by empowering the local talents, businesses and industries and the overall Saudi economy,” Samad said.


Alshaya Group, MODON launch Starbucks factory in Sudair City

Updated 31 January 2023

Alshaya Group, MODON launch Starbucks factory in Sudair City

Alshaya Group and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, known as MODON, celebrated the official inauguration of Alshaya’s central food production facility, in the presence of MODON’s Chief Executive Majid bin Rafid Al-Arqoubi, and General Manager of Alshaya Group in Saudi Arabia Faisal Alshaya, along with other officials.

Spread over 18,000 square meters in Sudair Industrial and Business City, located approximately 120 km from Riyadh, the new facility falls within masterplan efforts to stimulate and attract private sector investments to achieve the goals of the national strategy for industrial growth.

Alshaya said: “We are very proud to officially open our first central food production facility in the Kingdom at Sudair Industrial and Business City. In partnership with MODON, this facility will continue to manufacture locally produced products for our Starbucks coffee shops in the Kingdom, as well as provide more opportunities for Saudi nationals to join Alshaya.”

The opening of the new facility comes within the framework of attracting international investments in MODON and contributing to the localization of manufacturing and product delivery, as well as supporting the expansion plans of the Kuwait-based Alshaya Group. 

Manned by a workforce of more than 200 employees, including Saudi nationals, the new factory operates with a production capacity of 60,000 units per day. Production includes a variety of freshly baked goods, sandwiches, and healthy options that are supplied to more than 400 Starbucks outlets across the country daily. The facility aims to supply over 500 branches by the end of 2023. 

MODON’s strategy to enable the industry and contribute to increasing local content relies on developing more services and products. Their aim is centered around an innovative vision that meets the requirements of private sector partners and enhances their participation in economic diversification in line with Vision 2030. This includes its initiatives in the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program.

Sudair City for Industry and Business was established in 2009 on an area of 63,936 million square meters, of which 16.9 million square meters comprise a developed area. 

It includes 331 industrial, service and logistical contracts, including those in operation and those under implementation. It also includes many important industries, most notably: food and beverage, medical, machinery and equipment, and other manufacturing units, such as computers, electronics, optical products, and electrical equipment.


Mobily’s support for Diriyah E-Prix shows potential for sustainable tech

Updated 31 January 2023

Mobily’s support for Diriyah E-Prix shows potential for sustainable tech

As another action-packed 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix race weekend concluded, viewers were shown the exciting future of sustainable technology, with Mobily being at the forefront of this bold potential. 

The weekend’s Diriyah E-Prix provided the ideal platform for new and emerging technologies as the drivers proved electric-powered cars can be just as fast and exciting as traditional petrol vehicles. Mobily has already shown its support for the event after signing a partnership agreement to sponsor the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship Season 9 of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix.

Nora Al-Shiha, SVP, corporate brand and communications at Mobily, said: “The huge success of 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix not only reflects the amazing potential for electric-powered racing but also the profound impact this kind of sustainable technology will have on the lives of everyone. At Mobily, we have placed sustainability at the core of what we do, and it is why we decided to sponsor both the 2022 and 2023 events in such a manner. But as a company, we are going beyond just sponsorship deals, we are implementing a series of initiatives that will have a meaningful impact in helping to safeguard the environment for future generations.”

Mobily has worked closely with local promoter and event organizer CBX, the Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation before and during the race event. 

Formula E is the largest global sports event promoting sustainable practices and the further adoption of electric vehicles. Mobily’s sponsorship, therefore, reaffirms its commitment to supporting and nurturing sustainability in line with its vision and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals. The Formula E sponsorship deal is perhaps the most high-profile example of Mobily’s wider commitment to sustainability while it is also pushing ahead with technological advancements and delivering excellent services and solutions to customers.

As a result, the company is focused on raising society’s awareness of the impact of carbon emissions and the benefits that come with clean mobility, all while pushing the Formula E World Championship as the first major global sport to be certified with a net-zero carbon footprint. 

As the importance of a sustainable future becomes imperative, Mobily aims to play a central role by implementing innovative digital solutions that enhance the way people communicate and elevate their lifestyle. 


stc Bahrain partners with American Express ME

Updated 31 January 2023

stc Bahrain partners with American Express ME

stc Bahrain has partnered with American Express Middle East to support the company’s ongoing “Trees for Life” campaign. As part of the partnership, American Express Middle East has pledged to plant 1,000 trees across various locations in the country to increase the number of green spaces in Bahrain.

The partnership is a part of stc Bahrain’s commitment to preserving the environment and combating climate change in line with the country’s vision to double the number of trees from 1.8 million to nearly 3.6 million by 2035. The campaign also aims to reduce desertification, address increasingly high temperatures and promote environmental awareness and air quality enhancement in Bahrain. 

stc Bahrain CEO Nezar Banabeela said: “As part of our efforts to increase the number of green spaces in Bahrain, we are delighted to partner with American Express Middle East to commit to the ongoing cause and to spread awareness on the importance of preserving the environment.” 

We are proud to be at the forefront of the Kingdom’s largest afforestation campaign and are grateful to American Express Middle East for joining us in achieving our high ambitions to create a sustainable future for all.”

Mazin Khoury, CEO of American Express Middle East, said: “Sustainability and environmental protection are key priorities for our business strategy and operations at American Express Middle East.”