Ahmed Shariefi, Director of Operations at Q-Auto LLC, shares his perspectives on introducing electric vehicles in the Middle East and the opportunities just up the road.
For the past 100+ years the automobile industry was relying on horsepower. However, the trend is changing as the future of the transportation industry lies in KW now.
Yes, you read that right! According to the latest report by Bloomberg, 58% of global vehicles in 2040 will run on electricity.
The Arabic world is also switching to this latest trend where EVs are setting their hype across the Middle Eastern region. Although the EVs just started getting more attention, the EV industry is still on an upward route. Therefore, consumer demand would rise in the long run, and that’s evident in the recent developments.
To understand the future role of EV in the Middle East, we got in conversation with the director of operations of Q-Auto LLC. So, let’s get to know more about it.
The Ahmed Shariefi’s Perspective of Driving the Electric Vehicles in Qatar
Is there a Future of Electric Vehicles in the Middle East?
Short answer is resounding YES and according to Ahmed, the concept is not new. Electric Vehicles were invented over 100 years ago and it was race of petrol VS electric cars up to the 1930’s when petrol cars won that race and put electric engines into hibernation.
“Now the race is back and electric cars/engines back with vengeance for round two of the race and it seems that it might win the race this time”
In few years, electric cars will be cheaper to run and maintain. No noise and ticks for the environment. So I think this is the future for us as consumers,” Ahmed stated.
The Qatar Auto Industry’s Game Plan for Electric Cars
With the entry of the E-Tron that falls into the first electric SUV category, Audi is becoming a player at having more options. While the Qatar government is working on building infrastructure to accommodate EV in the near future. This is something that excites Ahmed Shariefi too.
“In Qatar, the government is investing in the infrastructure, which will help bring more Electric Vehicles into the country’s vehicle market.” Ahmed said.
“If you think about it as consumers, they want to see infrastructure. Because today, if I try to convince you with an electric car, the first thing you’d be asked is where do I charge my car?”
Having a proper setup for charging on the roads will automatically increase the demand.
Ahmed further added, “By 2025, 30% of vehicles should be electric. Probably, we are a little bit behind because of consumer acceptance.
So this will gradually grow with more awareness. When customers see the infrastructure on the road with more visibility, they would be more interested in this option.”
Electric Vehicle’s Fate in Qatar
At the moment electric cars cost slightly higher compared to the petrol vehicles. But the difference is not that huge in comparison, however, this will diminish over time and electric cars will be just as affordable as petrol.
We asked Ahmed about the EV outcome on the Qatari roads. He told us;
“Electric cars are introduced in smaller quantity. So most of the companies chose a strategy of top-down. Starting with the top end models and then they bring this technology down as they go along. Furthermore, the charging of EV would be cheaper as compared to the petrol-fueled vehicles.”
Ahmed added, “You can charge your electric vehicle with an absolutely normal 3-pin plug at home and 10 hours on normal 3-pin plug will be sufficient to cover daily average travel not to mention that it is cheaper by 70% from fuel. The maintenance cost is also minimal as compared to petrol cars.”
The Environment-Friendly features of the Electric Vehicles
This is no secret that electric vehicles are by far the most eco-friendly transport in the current era. Ahmed agreed with us on that. He said;
“With electric cars, you can check all boxes on the list that includes environment-friendly, low maintenance, comfort, luxury, space, range, safety, and performance. So it does create a winning combination between all these elements together in a car.”
The Emission-free Mobility
Q-Auto LLC is aiming to speed up the process within 10 years. We inquired Ahmed about it.
“I think it’s going to be much faster. Technology moves at a faster rate than we think. The work is in process for Vision 2030 in Qatar, I believe we will see the change very sooner than later. So we will see more EVs on the roads.”
He continued, “Q-Auto is into clean energy. This is why we are promoting electric chargers, electric vehicles and anything related to electric technology. So these things will help in realizing this vision. We are working towards a cleaner and greener future for the children.”
Consumer Acceptance and Charging Infrastructure in Qatar
The country has to be well-equipped to launch EVs on its roads. Ahmed agreed on that and disclosed.
“The government, the private sector, and the infrastructure will go hand in hand to achieve 2030 vision”
The consumer in Doha is really interested in learning and gaining information about e-cars. Since we have launched e-Tron, the demands are really high due to the interest in technology.”
Acceptance requires a lot of education and information. It’s all about removing the consumer barriers when it comes to electric charging technology itself. This will help push the technology further and gain acceptance.
On the other hand, the government is encouraging people for a greener future. They are imposing and working to provide access to EVs that would be affordable. The infrastructure would provide cheaper charging options so that people get encouraged to buy electric vehicles.
Aftersales Services for electric vehicles
A local consumer would be interested in getting insights about the aftersales services provided for the electric vehicles. Would it be complicated to maintain an electric vehicle? We asked Ahmed.
“Unlike petrol vehicle that require oil, filters and other liquids on each service, there’s not much to change and check on EV the vehicle is less complex and contain less moving parts than its petrol counterpart.
So EVs are much easier to manage than petrol-fueled vehicles.
How Q-Auto made Audi E-Tron the best seller in the middle east”
Undoubtedly, Audi is the most coveted international brand. However, introducing an electric vehicle is a 180 turn that needs a different level of promotion. We asked Ahmed how he managed to make it the most popular electric car in the region. This what he told us!
“We tried to introduce the Audi e-Tron in a different manner. One of the main success factors is the test drive. We understood that the test drive needs to be different than a normal car.
Unlike the regular half an hour test drive, we provided an extended test drive with a duration of a day or two. The concept is to build the confidence of the client. In addition, we trained our staff to provide complete knowledge to the customers about the car. We wanted them to really experience what it means to own an electric car. How to charge and see the performance by themselves.”
This is the basic reason we outsold the electric vehicle most in the region.
How Ahmed Shariefi Influenced the Company’s Growth
Ahmed is behind the strategic development of Q-Auto LLC. He and his team created many innovative solutions for the industry including car care product lines, safe rental car services, leasing solutions and expanded the company to a whole new level during the pandemic by adding new departments and services to consumers.
Ahmed Shariefi’s Message
“Honestly, I would say electric car is the future. Remove the barriers to what you think you know about electric cars. Come check the car itself. Drive it and it’ll change your mind.”