Egypt is beginning to lay the groundwork for bringing electric vehicles onto the local market to meet a growing demand to preserve the environment, limit air pollution, and conserve non-renewable energy resources.



A new Revolta Egypt fast charging station powers up an electric car in Cairo, Egypt,
September 22, 2018 (Photo courtesy Revolta Egypt)



In February, the country’s first electric vehicle charging station opened at a state-owned Wataneya gas station on the Cairo-Suez highway.



The EV tech company Revolta Egypt owns that first charging station, and the company now has 17 charging stations in the country, according to Mohamed Badawi, Revolta Egypt’s CEO.



Revolta Egypt has ambitious plans to place charging stations to serve nearly all of Egypt within the coming two years, in addition to the launch of Egypt’s first electric vehicle showroom.



“By the end of 2018," said Badawi, "we aim to have 65 charging units in seven governorates, including Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, and the Red Sea. Then, in 2019, we will cover the whole Delta and, in 2020, we will cover Upper Egypt and South Sinai, he told "Egypt Oil & Gas" in an interview in June.



This past April, BMW distributor Bavarian Auto presented the BMWi, the first electric car to be exhibited in Egypt. The car will be available on the Egyptian market in less than a year, according to Mohammad El Ghazaly Harb, marketing and product manager at BMW Egypt.



The BMWi will soon be joined by other electric cars on the Egyptian market. Volkswagen will export one of its electric cars to Egypt in January 2019, Hyundai introduced one of its Ioniq electric models this year, while Kia and Nissan models are expected soon, said Badawi.



Egypt announced special incentives for electric vehicles buyers this year. But progress is slow.



Revolta said they will hold a conference between Egypt and Jordan for knowledge sharing in this field, announcing that the company aims to sell 1,000 electric cars in Egypt by the end of this year.



But Revolta has not yet announced the opening date of its EV showroom, the Egypt-Jordan conference has not materialized, and just a few electric cars have been sold in Egypt to date.



In March, Tarek Kabil, then minister of trade and industry, issued a decision to allow the import of used EVs, provided that they are not over three-years old. These EVs are exempted from customs duties.



"Imports of used vehicles are not allowed pursuant to general rules, but an exception has been made to promote the use of environment-friendly cars in Egypt," Kabil said at the time.



His successor, the current Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar, says the ministry is currently reassessing the situation of the entire sector with the aim of developing a clear vision for an efficient auto industry in Egypt.



This vision is already becoming a reality. In July, Drshal Industrial and Trading Company, together with SMG Engineering Automotive company and the Chinese Dongfang Electric Corporation, announced the launch of the first electric car to be made in Egypt, the DFLZ M5.



The car will be locally assembled in the factories of the Engineering Automotive Company in late 2018, the company said.



CEO of Drshal Industrial and Trading Company Hassan Desouky visited China on a business trip earlier this month to encourage investments in electric cars in Egypt.



In the near future, Drshal plans to open its first EV charging station on the Cairo-Alexandria road. The company aims to establish a network of up to 2,000 EV charging stations nationwide.



Earlier this month, Revolta Egypt launched the first of its fast chargers that will fully charge an electric car battery in under 40 minutes.



In any case, for the next few years, the number of electric cars on Egyptian roads will be miniscule compared to the 9.4 million licensed vehicles in the country, according to data through the end of 2016 released by Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.



By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)

September 28, 2018