Qatar has recently unveiled a new electric vehicle (EV) company, ‘VIM,’ launched by Ecotranzit. The firm has set its sights on designing and constructing its electric vehicles, and Qatar is intent on seeing 35% of its vehicles and all its buses transformed into electric versions by 2030. The country also plans to extend its EV charging network to 250 by the end of the year.
Analysts predict that by 2032, the sales of electric vehicles could constitute 20% of Qatar’s total automobile market, given the country’s first step into the EV brand sector.
Earlier this month, Ecotranzit displayed the first prototypes of its Vim-branded electric vehicle, a product of its unique intellectual property rights deal with several partners, including China’s Beijing Automotive Works.
Investments are being made into assembly plants and initial production lines as Ecotranzit gears up to design and manufacture its own electric cars, the Qatar News Agency reports.
Despite its emerging status, Qatar’s passenger EV market is projected to see significant growth over the next decade due to government targets. Currently, the Gulf state lags behind the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where large investments have been poured into factories and efforts to attract major industry players like Lucid.
In April, the Qatari Ministry of Transport set a goal to electrify 35% of its vehicle fleet and all public transport buses by 2030. According to BMI analysts, this could boost passenger EV sales to just shy of 600 units by the end of the year.
Sales are expected to increase by an average of 48% annually, potentially resulting in about 15,000 units sold by 2032, which would signify an EV penetration rate of over 20%. In addition, the sale of electric trucks, pickups, and minibuses is projected to hit nearly 2,200 units by 2030, a penetration rate of 15%.
By 2030, the Qatari government hopes that total EV sales will make up 10% of domestic sales. Last year, passenger EV sales are believed to have soared by 71% to reach around 150 units. As of 2022, the total EV fleet in Qatar – encompassing both passenger and commercial vehicles – was around 1,130 units, or just 0.1% of total vehicles.
Chinese-manufactured models, including Tesla units made in China, comprised the majority of passenger EVs sold in 2022. There was, however, an increasing trend towards European cars later in the year. It is estimated that Qatar saw the sale of around 800 electric buses in 2022.
In April, Dukhan Bank rolled out its first eco-friendly vehicle financing offer for customers purchasing an EV by September. BMI analysts believe that continuous improvements in vehicle supplies from the US, Europe, and Japan, along with mainland China, will bolster robust passenger EV sales in 2023.
The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation plans to enlarge its EV charging network to 250 chargers by year’s end. Given Qatar’s relatively small size, analysts predict it will be reasonably straightforward to develop a robust local EV network.
Nonetheless, substantial cooperation will be needed to establish an inter-GCC EV charging network over the forecasted period.
According to a study by the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar, the Gulf state could evolve into an EV manufacturing hub, as companies like Volkswagen, Gaussin, and Yutong have already teamed up with government entities. For this ambition to be realized, e-mobility targets such as 100% EV public transport by 2030 and 15,000 public charging stations would be necessary.