About 52 per cent of UAE residents are considering a switch to hybrid or electric motoring as the increase in fuel prices comes to bear on the way consumers think about transport, according to a survey by Audi Abu Dhabi.
Twenty-five per cent of people surveyed are waiting for more EV options to be launched before buying, the research, which polled 1,000 residents in the UAE, found.
“Interest in EVs has continued to grow organically over time. However, increasing petrol prices have certainly accelerated the shift in consumers’ attitude towards EV adoption,” said Mark Austin, Audi Abu Dhabi general manager.
“When considering energy efficiency across the full life cycle of producing, transporting and using fuel — typically referred to as “well to wheel” — electric vehicles offer high efficiency and the lowest carbon emissions per mile.”
There is a global move towards the use of EVs that are charged from the electric grid as more consumers choose transport powered by clean energy.
While petrol prices in the UAE declined slightly in May, they rose by more than 10 per cent in February, 10 per cent in March and 16 per cent in April, as global oil prices surged beyond $100 a barrel.
The prices announced by the UAE Fuel Price Committee in April were the highest they have been since they were deregulated in 2015 to allow them to move in line with the market.
In 2020, prices were frozen by the Fuel Price Committee at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The controls were removed in March 2021 to reflect the movement of the market.
Industry analysts expect crude supply to be tight as the EU considers a ban on Russian oil imports and expectations of higher demand in the US, the world's largest economy, increase as the summer season looms.
The easing of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in China, the world’s largest importer of oil, is also supporting crude prices.
About 14 per cent of those polled in the UAE said they recently bought a petrol car but would have preferred a hybrid or EV, according to the survey.
“Depending on the type of car you drive, the average cost of filling a fuel tank can be upwards of Dh270 versus Dh8.25 to fully charge an EV battery with a 110 kWh charger. With EVs, owners also save on operating expenses,” Mr Austin said.
EV owners spend 60 per cent less on fuel than owners of internal combustion engine vehicles, according to a 2020 Consumer Reports study. Owning an EV will save the typical driver $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the vehicle, compared with owning a comparable petrol-powered vehicle, the study found.
Residents in the UAE are now planning their car journeys more carefully, with about 25 per cent saying they use public transport a lot more now, while 14 per cent of drivers have purchased an electric scooter or bike to use over short distances, the Audi Abu Dhabi survey revealed.
Remote and flexible working options are also helping people in the UAE to mitigate rising fuel costs, with 19 per cent saving more on fuel expenses by working from home, the research found.
Abu Dhabi released regulatory policy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the emirate last week.
The policy, released by the emirate’s Department of Energy, sets out the requirements and standards for establishing a network of electric vehicle charging stations across Abu Dhabi.
It includes the principles governing ownership, installation and management of electric vehicle supply equipment, power supply to the charging installations and the pricing mechanism for end customers.
The policy anticipated a progressive increase in the use of electric vehicles on Abu Dhabi’s roads in the coming years, department chairman Awaidha Al Marar said.