2018 Predictions: Kalyana Sivagnanam, President, Nissan Middle East

Transport: a landmark year ahead for electric vehicles
By Kalyana Sivagnanam
Thu 11 Jan 2018 04:10 PM

The year ahead will see stronger integration of automation trends that are aimed at tackling key global challenges.

One such global challenge is high fatalities. Technologies embedded in electric vehicles significantly reduce breakdowns and accidents, offering a safer way to travel. For example, the Nissan Leaf has clocked over 3.6bn km with zero major incidents.

Around the world, vehicles are being integrated into societies as we move towards fully autonomous vehicles, and this is driven by consumer trends. On average, 20 percent of new car buyers state that they would switch to another car brand for better connectivity.

The next stages require progress in other areas. Clean power supplies, coupled with smart infrastructure, will be necessary for sustainable and interconnected transport.

The UAE has launched a series of initiatives in line with its Vision 2021 and has set a goal of 42,000 electric vehicles by 2030. Benefits include free public parking and charging, toll-fee exemption and registration discounts.

Looking to the future, driverless vehicles will transform existing public transport systems – a few months back, Dubai’s RTA tested the ‘world’s first flying taxi’. The task at hand for city planners is to develop infrastructure that caters to this shift in preference for electrification, which includes vehicle-to-grid solutions and making charging stations more accessible.

For transportation and automotive companies, long-term success will be based upon flexibility and responsiveness in the face of these evolving trends. Longevity will require a vision and agenda that constantly prioritises innovative solutions to meet the challenges of energy supplies, growing urban population centres and the emergence of driverless vehicles. Eventually, cars of the future need to provide more than just mobility.

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