The UAE has long held a reputation for being an oil-based economy. However in this era of sustainability, the government has had to bring about quite a few changes to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
The tremendous success of the EXPO 2020 is one such effort in this direction. By emphasising on core themes like sustainability, mobility, and opportunity, the country has made a strong declaration to the global community- a revolutionary switch is happening, and it won’t include oil!
The UAE’s consistent investments in scientific research and development have allowed it to reach monumental heights in terms of smart, energy-efficient and eco-friendly technology. A good example being the recent collaboration between Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) and the Dutch Company Lightyear. Together, the team are disrupting the automobile industry by launching the world’s first production ready solar car. It is set to enter the region by next year.
The Lightyear 0 has been designed to run completely on solar energy. According to it’s creators, you can drive it for almost 7 months without recharging. Ahead of it’s release in the European market, the car is beng advertised for sale at USD $244,000, but no price has been announced for the UAE market just yet.
For a long time, the international community had referred to the UAE as a ‘desert country’ that developed with visionary leadership. In this perception, the idea of being a desert is used negatively. But the UAE is a strong example of development while still being rooted in culture and originality. Which is why the country constantly strives to seek out innovative methods of development in a manner that suits the region. This is also a great leadership quality.
Large investments in promoting the use of solar energy is a great example of utilising desert features for the benefit of humanity. Geographically, the country is well equipped to enable the use of solar-power. High temperatures and the significant amount of daylight hours received serve as a huge advantage. Already, the UAE is the world’s third largest producer of solar power, making it the perfect place to test and prove Lightyear’s solar extender solutions for electric vehicles.
The manufacturers of lightyear0 have also attributed the weather conditions as a reason for going forward with the partnership. They wish to test the solar power car’s functionality in different temperatures. With climate change creating faster impacts, this is an important aspect to consider when looking at the future.
Lightyear is extremely optimistic about Lightyear0’s functionality in the UAE. In fact, they claim that UAE drivers will probably never have to worry about plugging in their solar powered car, owing to the abundance of solar energy.
If the initial testing period is a success, this would be the first solar powered car to pass the experimentation phase and be sold commercially. By extension, the UAE would then be on the fast track to marking one of the most significant achievements in sustainable mobility around the globe, and locking it’s position as a leader in sustainable living.