Unfamiliarity is the root of fear and doubt. It’s the same for the silent shadows in the deserted alleys and for the stealthily advancing technology of clean energy. Then there is the anxiety that stems from the knowledge of haplessness – the sheer absence of support beyond the urban confines – read lack of charging stations. The Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip is firstly aimed at distancing that fear and unfamiliarity.
Today, on the fourth and final day of the World Future Energy Summit, when pressing questions are answered in the conference halls of Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNED) and confident voices ring out in the corridors that lead straight to the future – a journey will begin. A cross-border drive that will leave the city behind to pass through Madinat Zayed, Sohar in Oman, and finally pulling over in Muscat. The difference is that this round trip extending across 1217 kilometers will be carried out in electric vehicles. What is unchanged is that I am taking the driver’s seat to bring you the whole story of the Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EVRT Middle East). Stay buckled up… and supercharged!
The awe-inspiring ‘ludicrously famous’ Tesla on one side and the more approachable and compact Chevrolet Bolt on the other make a balanced mix of the convoy. The Bolt will have consumers filling its driving seat for the first time – almost a year before the vehicle is officially made available.
The journey is dotted with exciting pit stops of individual significance. The inauguration of charging stations along the way is one major part. GreenParking will establish 18 new charging stations along the road trip route. The 2018 EVRT Middle East would be the harbinger of electric traffic in this route, hopefully, once it is established that one can venture beyond the bend. Well, I would say, what is perhaps even more significant than a few enthusiasts experiencing the electric vehicles for themselves, in order to gain talking points in a weekend majlis, is the confidence that the completion of the journey instills in the observing public – not as monumental as watching the Wright brothers rise above a few feet for the first time; a spectacle nevertheless!
Giving the road trip a larger purpose, the new charging stations will be officially inaugurated as the convoy reaches the locations in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah as well as Sohar and Muscat in Oman. The charging stations are going to be a permanent fixture at these IHG hotels (inauguration dates in brackets): Crowne Plaza Yas Island (17th), Crowne Plaza Sohar (20th), Crowne Plaza Muscat (21st), InterContinental Muscat (22nd) and InterContinental Fujairah (24th) as well as the Tilal Liwa Hotel (18th). Sam Alawiye, CEO of GreenParking said: “The Electric Vehicle Road Trip Middle East is an important step towards bringing zero emission vehicles to the forefront of the public’s attention and our extended charging station network will help to showcase these fantastic cars as sustainable and practical alternatives to petrol vehicles.”
Gary West, Urban Active Operations Manager, GM International said: “The EVRT Middle East 2018 road trip will give car enthusiasts their first look at our new Chevrolet Bolt EV, which combines a host of innovative technologies with an unprecedented driving range of over 500 kilometres.”
On its 9-day journey, the EVRT Middle East convoy will stop at sites of outstanding natural beauty and important sustainable energy projects before reaching its final destination at The Sustainable City in Dubai on January 26th. Stay tuned to know more about important solar energy farms, the world’s largest botanic garden and other incredibly interesting projects.
Ben Pullen, Managing Director of Global EVRT said: “By establishing a new, extended network of charging stations across this tough, 1,217km route we are demonstrating that these cars are not just environmentally friendly options for the future, they are real options for car buyers right now, with innovative gadgets and technology to excite and impress.”
The journey has been planned for EV enthusiasts to purchase a seat on the trip – for the full nine-day journey or for one of the two five-day stages (Abu Dhabi to Muscat: Jan 18-22 or Muscat-Dubai: Jan 22-26) – costing AED 12,000 and AED 6,000 respectively. For more information and a last minute attempt to jump on board the second leg (not too sure about this!), check out: https://roadtripme.globalevrt.com/tickets/
Anyway, come back for the whole story, told day by day. Playing star trek on desert roads is going to be very interesting!