A model leans on the hood of the 'Quds Rise,' the first ever electric car produced in Lebanon, during an unveiling ceremony in Khaldeh on Saturday. AFP
A Lebanon-made electric car made its debut on Saturday, the first time the Mediterranean country has manufactured an automobile, despite struggling amid a dire economic crisis with frequent power cuts.
The red sports car — named "Quds Rise," using the Arabic name of Jerusalem — is the project of Lebanese-born Palestinian businessman Jihad Mohammad.
It's the "first automobile to be made locally," Mohammad told reporters, at the unveiling in a parking lot south of Beirut.
It was built in Lebanon "from start to finish," he said of the prototype, emblazoned at the front with a golden logo of the Dome of the Rock, the shrine in occupied Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site. The car is to cost $30,000 (Dhs110,000).
A model leans on the 'Quds Rise' during an unveiling ceremony in Khaldeh, south of Beirut. AFP
Production of up to 10,000 vehicles is hoped to start later this year in Lebanon, with cars to hit the market in a year's time, said Mohammad, the director of Lebanon-based firm EV Electra.
Mohammad, 50, said he set up the company four years ago after years abroad, employing Lebanese and Palestinian engineers among 300 members of staff.
Jihad Mohammad arrives in the 'Quds Rise' during an unveiling ceremony in Khaldeh. AFP
He says his long-term goal is to compete on the international market for hybrid and electric cars, as well as to make sales in Lebanon. But the unveiling comes as Lebanon struggles amid its worst economic crisis in decades, and imported car sales are at a record low, in part due to capital controls and drastic devaluation on the black market.
'Step in the right direction'?
Dealers sold just 62 new cars in the first two months of 2021, almost 97 per cent less than the same period a year before, figures released by the Association of Automobile Importers in Lebanon showed.
A woman takes pictures of children posing by the 'Quds Rise.' AFP
The economic crunch since late 2019 has plunged more than half the population into poverty. But Mohammad said potential Lebanese buyers would be offered the opportunity to pay for half the new electric car in dollars, with the rest paid in Lebanese pounds at an exchange rate better than the black market one, to be paid over five years without interest.
Lebanon also relies on fossil fuels for power generation, already insufficient for a population of around six million who suffer daily power cuts. To power its new electric cars, the firm plans to set up around 100 recharging stations across the country connected to generators.
These could then be fuelled by solar and wind power generation, Mohammad said. Independent energy analyst Jessica Obeid welcomed the innovation, but said the vehicles would only be environmentally friendly if the power sector underwent serious reform.
"The energy sector is the biggest contributor to Lebanon's greenhouse gas emissions," and already under pressure due a shortage in dollars to import fuel, she said. But, she added, "if the electric vehicles have solar charging stations, then this would be a step in the right direction."
Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter to congratulate the Sindh government, specially Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and his ministry, on their “remarkable step to add electric bus in Karachi Commuters system.”
Dewa has successfully installed 240 electric vehicle charging stations in different areas of Dubai such as government offices, airports, petrol stations, shopping malls, commercial offices, clinics and hospitals, residential complexes and establishments.
The extension allows non-commercial users registered in the EV Green Charger Initiative to charge their vehicles for free at DEWA public charging stations
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill held a fiery media conference in which he lashed out at Shirazi for criticising the government’s economic policies in her article.
Sheikh Mohammed exchanged cordial conversations with Simonyte about the bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to advance economic relations towards a new stage that achieves the interests of the two countries and their development aspirations in various fields of common interest, foremost of which are the sectors of advanced technology, innovation, and renewable energy.
This was announced by the Seismology Department of the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), which monitors earthquake activities in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied during the visit by his sons, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, and Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.