State-held Saudi Electricity Company signed an agreement on Sunday with Japanese energy firms and carmaker Nissan to launch the first pilot project for electric vehicles in the country best known for its oil production and exports.
Saudi Electricity signed the deal with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), its affiliate Takaoka Toko Co. Ltd., and car manufacturer Nissan to test the feasibility of EVs in the harsh climate of Saudi Arabia, TEPCO said in a statement on Monday.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest exporter and de facto leader, aims to cut domestic oil consumption to free more oil for exporting and to reduce its carbon emissions, TEPCO said.
The pilot project will use three of Nissan’s latest New LEAF electric car models, and TEPCO affiliate Takaoka Toko will provide quick chargers for each of them. The pilot project, set to launch in April this year, will monitor the effects of the heat in the Saudi summer, as well as dust and sand, on the performance of EVs.
For one year, Saudi Electricity will operate the three Nissan EVs and the three Takaoka Toko quick chargers, while TEPCO will evaluate the data from the pilot project.
The companies will also develop a business plan for the use of EVs and quick chargers in Saudi Arabia, TEPCO said. Related: Geopolitical Wildcards Could Push Oil Beyond $70
The rise of the electric vehicles and the global drive to reduce the carbon footprint has caused every big carmaker in the world to launch or plan to launch EVs.
In Saudi Arabia, state oil giant Aramco is working on internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiencies, and is showcasing its technologies at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Still, Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser thinks that EVs won’t be a real threat to oil consumption for decades to come.
“Electric vehicles will continue to grow. They will take good market share, but it will be decades before they shoulder a significant percentage of the energy mix,” Nasser told CNBC in October 2017.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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