Spotlight: A ‘Hybrid Transition’

Is Oman making a transition towards the fuel-efficient hybrid of electric vehicles?
The infrastructure is being put in place with more and more fuel stations unveiling plug-in charging outlets for electric vehicles (EVs) in the country and also for those that come to Muscat from the neighbouring countries in addition to the ones that will be launched shortly.
Even though plug-in points for EVs were first introduced in Oman two years ago, it is only now that hybrid vehicles have started making presence felt in Omani roads, including in Muscat.
Youngsters in Oman are looking for fuel-efficient vehicles as fuel prices are no longer subsidised. With economic challenges prevalent across the spectrum, they value each amount spent, including on fuel and cars.
Also, they are more conscious of carbon emissions and their impact on the environment, said a senior executive of a leading hybrid brand in Oman.
“What we need is some initiative from the government for hybrid and EVs,” felt a senior executive of a leading hybrid brand in Oman.
He added the sales of hybrids have gone up and the trend will continue in the next two decades.
Moshin al Balushi, transport manager with a private distribution company, said, “As for fleet operations, it is not feasible to adopt hybrid vehicles due to cost factor but at the individual level, I certainly encourage my employees to consider these vehicles for the future.”
Sanjoy recently opted for a hybrid SUV vehicle of a high-end brand.
“I always wanted to make an early move though it was an expensive side, and the results are positive,” he said.
According to a recent launch, top official of a popular brand told the Observer, “Auto manufacturers are relooking at strategies for their Middle East market because there is a growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, which was never a major consideration until 2015. Mass production will make hybrid and EVs more affordable and it will certainly change market dynamics.”
The barriers or hurdles preventing people from switching to private electric vehicles (EVs) from gasoline-run cars will be completely removed in the next few years, according to top officials of the concerned departments.
Not EVs in its fullest sense, hybrids, which include models such as Prius Ioniq, select the optimum combination of the petrol engine and electric motor to maximise fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million, up 2 million from the previous year and almost double the number of new electric car sales.
China remains the world’s largest electric car market, followed by Europe and the United States while Norway is the global leader in terms of electric car market share.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there will be 950 million electric vehicles in the world by 2040.
This number roughly represents half of all the global fleet of two billion vehicles.
Some 74 million electric light commercial vehicles and 15 million electric heavy-duty vehicles are expected to be circulating by 2040.
As a consequence of this strong electrification of transport, the IEA estimates an increase of 3,4 GWh in electricity consumption worldwide by 2040 and an investment of more than $4 trillion between now and then on charging infrastructure, excluding grid enforcement costs.