UAE drivers may soon be able to buy an electric vehicle locally for the first time.
The Al Yousuf UAE business group president Eqbal Al Yousuf said the company was about to launch its first prototype of what it describes as a non-polluting series of electric vehicle, which was being engineered in the US. Al Yousuf said: "The Phoenix sport utility truck [SUT] is a fully featured, all-electric pick-up truck that can serve as a direct cost-efficient replacement for standard passenger cars and light duty trucks for $75,000 (Dh275,415).
"We are still in the test phase and produced three cars of two models, two-wheel drive and full-time four-wheel-drive," he said. Al Yousuf added that the 35,000-watt motor operated like a normal engine but it did not use petrol or oil. And with its extended-range configuration, the Phoenix SUT could drive more than 100 miles [160 km] on a single $3 electric charge.
The vehicle could be recharged at home in just five hours — or in just 10 minutes at a recharging station if one was available, he said.The vehicle, which weighs two tons, is made with the body of the Korean Ssangyong LS, and a lithium battery which weighs 450 kg and can last for 10 years according to laboratory tests.
The smaller number of parts used in their manufacture make electric vehicles more durable than their petrol-driven counterparts. While the average number of parts used in petrol cars is 3,000, electric cars use only 120, minimisisng the possibility of breakdowns due to wear, Al Yousuf UAE group president Eqbal Al Yousuf said.
In terms of safety, Al Yousuf said the Phoenix is safer than the conventional engine because it has a lithium battery, "one of the best batteries in the world", which is not flammable. If the battery overheats, the battery management system steps in to prevent a flameout. The engine is an "instant on-off", he said, with no time or fuel wasted in warming up. The vehicle needs no oil and filter changes or even servicing. "It can be repaired like any computer," Al Yousuf said.
"The Phoenix is a complex, well-designed vehicle that can cope with the highest pressures of different roads and driving styles," he said.