Now that 2020 is behind us, and good riddance to that, we look forward to what the year holds in store for the electric vehicles segment in the Middle East. In 2020, due to COVID-19, we didn’t see many vehicles launches in the Middle East, with the ones that were made available can be counted on the hand, in comparison to everywhere else, like for example the Honda E, that would have been so great to have it launched here, or equally desired the Mustang Mach-E.
Electric Vehicles that launched in 2020 in the region
In early 2020, Nissan Middle East quietly (pun intended again) the Leaf 40kWh in Amman, Jordan. In 2018, Nissan announced in grand affair at the Dubai International Motor Show, that it was going big in the region with EVs. But, to date, even with their sponsorship of the Dubai Expo 2020 event, they have fallen short. It’s a shame since the Japanese manufacturer is doing quite well across the world, and it does not give us much hope for the Ariya to be made available in the region. Who knows, we may even get the Ariya before the Nissan Leaf launches in the rest of the Middle East.
Porsche Middle East launched the Taycan in the region in October last year. With Dubai flair for regional launches, the company took over Burj Khalifa for an electrifying launch with a drones sky performance included. The Taycan, though late to the region, is a beautiful addition to the EV world of cars in the Middle East, even though it is on the higher-end of the price spectrum, you pretty much get what you pay for – that is if you want to switch to electric cars in style.
Audi e-tron Sportback
Just making it in to the 2020 launches is the Audi e-tron Sportback. We were lucky enough to be included in the test drive review program where we had a chance to drive it over the Christmas break. The Sportback is a great piece of German engineering that currently compares well to the couple of competitors in the segment in the region. You can read our full review of the Audi e-tron 55 Quattro Sportback here
Though technically it made its debut at the Dubai International Motor Show in 2019, the car was made available in 2020. The multi-award winning vehicle is both beautiful and practical. Some of the electric drive technology has come out of the Jaguar I-Type electric Formula E racing car program and the concentric motors were developed by JLR engineers.
MG ZS EV
One of the biggest announcements in 2020 for the EV segment is MG’s all-electric SUV. Why? Well, it was amazingly priced at approximately $27,500 (depending on which market you buy it in). This is a fantastic price point to entice borderline EV buyers, especially that is priced better than the tiny hatches that other manufacturers have on offer (like the Bolt and Leaf).
Electric Vehicles that launched, but you can only buy online
Drako GTE is a limited production supercar with just 25 units planned for worldwide production, and comes with a $1.25 million price tag. It is powerful, agile and firmly planted on the ground. A design that combines a muscular four-seater body with the elegance of a true GT car. It also comes in a Track Edition, which includes Drako high output track battery, fully adjustable track tuned suspension, two sets of wheels and tires (road + track).
Making waves in the Middle East is regionally based, Lebanon to be specific, Electra Cars. Led by Palestinian entrepreneur Jihad Mohammed, the company wants to make exotic looking vehicles affordable for all, especially in the region. With that, Electra RISE was born from the ashes paying tribute to the explosion that rocked Beirut last year. The RISE did what VW and Tesla wanted to do, make a mid-sized vehicle available for $25,000.
What’s coming in 2021?
Here’s which electric vehicles we can expect for 2021 in the Middle East.
Tesla Model Y
Though already launched in the US in 2020, we can expect the Model Y to hit the Middle East roads, namely Jordan and UAE, mid 2021. Tesla’s latest Y fits neatly between the Model 3 and X. It’s pretty much a compacy SUV version of the Model 3. Though you cannot place an order on it like the Cybertruck, we are pretty sure it will come next year – for those interested in the Cybertruck you can expect that in 2022.
We have it on good authority that the Aspark Owl will be available in a new showroom soon this year. The most expensive EV hypercar, and the fastest in the world will go on sale for $3.2 million in the UAE. The Owl recently made waves in the auto world by smashing 0 to 100 km/h in 1.72 seconds, making it the fastest accelerating car ever produced.
Audi e-tron GT
This is one we cannot wait to drive. The Audi e-tron GT may very well arrive to our shores mid-2021. The car, from what we hope to see, will have a mean sporty look, hopefully a sicker version of the A5. Well, anything that looks remotely close to the concept and we’ll be more than happy.
Though we’ve only seen some teasers, we expect the Chevrolet Bolt to launch in the Middle East alongside the global availability, maybe towards the end of the year. The zippy Bolt will most likely look sleeker and refined, something that doesn’t represent an ‘entry-level’ electric car.
Mercedes Benz EQC
We’ve been desperately reaching out to the Mercedes-Benz crew in the Middle East to find out more, but unfortunately, we have not heard back. The car, which is available elsewhere, and in fact, we spotted a unit in Dubai in November – that unit as we were told is being used for marketing activities. So most likely, we may get our hands on one in February to test drive.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Though this might not be made available in the wider region, we expect it to make its way to Jordan next year. While the rest of the world might be getting the newer version, we might see the old 2020 model make its way there.
Nissan Leaf e+
With Nissan Middle East’s track record on launching the Leaf in the region, we may finally get the new Leaf 60kWh version next year, and a slight chance of the Leaf e+. We don’t know exactly of the company’s electric car strategy for the region since we get stonewalled by the PR team mentioning the repeated and outdated statement, “Before we enter a market, blah blah, we study the market blah blah, we will update you blah blah,” said senior person at Nissan Middle East. So, nothing solid as of yet as they’re focusing more on the gas guzzling and super money maker the Nissan Patrol.
2022 and beyond
As the Middle East plays catch up to the rest of the world, I believe that in 2022 and beyond, we’ll see regional availability in closer proximity to global launches of electric vehicles. Just as we currently see in the ICE vehicles, we usually wait three to six months after its launch. 2022 will have big vehicles coming like the Tesla Cybertruck, BMW iX, BMW i4, Nissan Ariya, Renault Megane eVision, Lucid Air, so stay tuned as we bring you more updates.