August 22, 2022 auto

GM doubles down on plans for all-electric future in Middle East


The automobile industry in the region is transforming at pace, moving further into an all-electric future driven by technological advances, rising fuel prices and changing consumer behaviour.

This is leading to several automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, to leverage and bring the latest innovation and mobility technology to the Middle East, said a statement from GM.

Doubling down on plans for an electric future in the Middle East, the auto giant has confirmed the fourth of 13 EVs for the region by 2025.

At a recent exclusive drive and technology immersion in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors outlined nameplates soon to be released to the Middle East region, including the Chevrolet Blazer EV SUV, which will launch in 2024, joining the Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV and Chevrolet Bolt EUV – all slated to arrive in the region by 2023 as part of a fleet of 13 all-new GM EVs to hit the region by 2025.

The roll out draws from the global brand investment of $35 billion into electric and autonomous vehicle AV technology to lead the future of mobility around the world, including a significant focus on the Middle East region, it stated.

According to GM, the Middle East is cemented as a key market for EVs, with its ambition aligning with regional government goals to reach net zero.

The growing focus of the governments across the UAE and region to promote the use of electric vehicles is expected to drive the automotive market, with plans such as electrification and charging stations put in place and with the Dubai Green Mobility Strategy 2030 mandating 30% of public sector vehicles and 10% of all vehicle sales be electric.

Dubai is aiming for 44% of energy derived from Renewables by 2050, 10% penetration of Electric Vehicles by 2030 (275k units), Infrastructure & Regulations for Autonomous, Smart and Connected technologies and 25% of total trips in the emirate to be smart, sustainable, and driverless by 2030.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently ranked in the top 50 countries embracing EV transition, within a global vehicle electrification index collated annually by AlixPartners.

Underpinning the electric revolution is GM’s industry-leading, modular and flexible Ultium battery platform. Ultium provides performance and driving range exceeding many petrol-powered vehicles, relegating ‘range anxiety’ to a thing of the past.

Depending on the model, GM’s Ultium-based EVs are capable of 0 to 100km/h acceleration in as low as 3.0 seconds, whilst boasting a driving range of more than 600 kilometers on a single charge. And with fast charging, Ultium-equipped EVs can provide up to 160km of range with just a 10-minute charge.

Ultium has already reduced battery costs by 40% and as EV adoption rates and production increases rapidly through the decade, costs will continue to come down, said the statement from GM.

In addition, GM has specifically tested their EVs and battery systems for the extremes of the Middle East weather and environment. GM’s engineers have undergone extensive Laboratory and real-world testing to ensure all the systems operate at maximum capacity and performance up to 55 degrees centigrade, it added.

In addition to the roll out of EVs, GM is also set to launch its pioneering autonomous vehicle technology to the market, with the GM majority-owned Cruise embarking on a partnership with Dubai RTA.

The agreement will see the self-driving and shared vehicle company bring its autonomous vehicle service, powered by GM’s Ultium battery technology, to the UAE, as the first international venture outside of the US. Cruise and Dubai’s RTA aim to have a limited number of Cruise’s self-driving vehicles running in Dubai from 2023, with up to 4,000 AVs on the road by 2030.

Luay Al Shurafa - President and Managing Director, GM Africa and Middle East, while highlighting the readiness for a new electric vehicle era in the Middle East, said: 'Work towards this vision is already underway as a fleet of Chevrolet Bolts have begun mapping the streets of Dubai in preparation for the Cruise Origin roll-out.'

'This supports Dubai’s Green Mobility Strategy 2030, mandating 30% of public sector vehicles and 10% of all vehicle sales to be electric,' he stated.

GM’s EV and AV roll-out is elevated in tandem by cohesive efforts with local government, corporate and private entities to ensure infrastructure readiness.

This feeds into regional government visions to achieve various net zero ambitions, spanning Saudi Arabia’s Net Zero 2060 vision, as well as UAE’s and Qatar’s 2050 Net Zero ambition, said Al Shurafa.

As part of the electrification push, GM is also bringing to market wider mobility solutions within the logistical space, exemplified by the partnership with UAE’s Emirates Post.

The MoU signed last year outlines the use of Ultium technology, to power the BrightDrop EV600, spearheading transformative change within the delivery sector regionally, he noted.

The continued collaboration of GM with regional governments, public and private entities, as well as the highly anticipated roll out of 13 EVs by 2025, reaffirms the brand’s commitment to bringing the future of mobility to the Middle East, today, he added.

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