Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has signed a deal with Japanese Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Nissan Motor Co and Takaoka Toko for the first electric vehicle pilot project in the kingdom, according to reports.
As part of the deal, fast-charger stations will be built that will be able to charge EVs in 30 minutes – as opposed to the recommended overnight charging for the cars.
As part of the pilot, SEC will borrow three EVs from Nissan while TEPCO and Takaoka Toko will provide three fast chargers.
There has been a clear uptick in interest in electric vehicles (EVs) across the GCC as governments seek to reduce their reliance on oil and ease back on fuel subsidies. Saudi Arabia is also keen to develop its auto industry as part of efforts to diversify the economy beyond oil, with feasibility studies already underway.
For their part, automakers are rapidly perfecting the technology to meet both consumer demand and increasingly stringent regulatory environments. In conjunction, automakers are also now trying to share the high costs of developing batteries, resulting in partnerships with the likes of SEC.
Although SEC CEO Amin Nasser conceded that it will be a number of years for EVs are a significant part of the market, all attempts to improve their efficiency would offer better long-term prospects for alternative energy sources in Saudi.
Saudi Arabia hosted a Saudi-Japanese business forum on Sunday, January 14 in which a MoUs have been signed with companies including Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development (NEDCO).
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.