The annual Future Mobility Club forum held on March 25 by the Clean Energy Business Council of Middle East and North Africa addressed the crucial challenges for the future of mobility and infrastructure in the MENA region.

The forum was attended by notable speakers from a wide range of companies including Dubai Carbon, Green Parking, and Schneider Electric alongside other industries that operate in electric, biofuels, hydrogen fuels and more.

Alan Whaley, Chairman and Founder of AMENA Automotive was also present at the event. At its outset, the Future Mobility Club was formed with an aim to support the transition of the automotive industry towards green mobility and recent initiatives taking place in the UAE. While global as well as the Middle Eastern industry shifts towards smarter technology, numerous problems that pose a serious threat in the future needs to be addressed.

“Even for economic reasons, electric will become cheaper than ICE", Stephan Gobert, Senior Strategy Manager at ENGIE.

Future Mobility Club Forum Dubai

Attendees discussed topics ranging from charging station infrastructure to electric powertrains and investments in electric mobility.

Throughout 2019 and beyond, the FMC will develop a working programme to support the growth of the EV market and raise awareness about the EV industry with the help of partnerships and collaborations with its key stakeholders. The primary ethos of the club is to function as an electric vehicle and clean energy industry representative involving the private sector in order to support the development of the EV market.

Representatives of US-based leading electric component company Honeywell who attended the interview explained the trajectory of the mobility in the region. Close to 50 per cent of the company’s investment last year was targeted towards energy conservation.

While major automakers around the world are future-proofing their lineup by including concrete plans of electrification in their long-term plans, a major hindrance is availability of charging stations. However, in future markets, as electrified powertrain become abundant and the dependency of fossil fuels become scarce, an electric car would cost less to own and maintain than a conventional car. Senior Strategy Manager at ENGIE, Stephan Gobert, who also moderated the event said, “Even for economic reasons, electric will become cheaper than ICE.”

Electric Vehicles in UAE

Development of infrastructure should go hand-in-hand with the soaring number of electric vehicles.

“Government will have to enable the adoption of electric too. For example, In Abu Dhabi, you need to pay a license fee for each charging station and that can get very expensive” he added.

Talking about the same, representatives of French electric giant Schneider said that the company was looking at data and AI to support the electrification cause.

A critical challenge currently facing the global automotive industry is setting up infrastructure and support for future automobiles. It is a well-known fact that autonomous vehicles are quite a lot of years away from being commercially available across the world. However, the pertinent question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’.