Can Lebanon Be The Country For Electric Cars? We Met With Kettaneh To Find Out

May 02,2017

As we scroll through the internet, we are all bombarded by talks about electric cars and how more and more countries are planning to adopt them by 2020. In Norway, more than 25% of registered cars are electric thus making it the leading country in electric cars adoption. So how would an electric car perform in Lebanon? And if they arrive in our country, should you own one?

 

N.B.: Kettaneh brought the VW e-Up a while ago only for testing on Lebanese roads, there is no intention of selling the car.

 

 

 

 

First off, what are the benefits of electric cars?

 

  • They are quiet, meaning less noise pollution.
  • They are energy efficient. More efficient than combustion engines that waste most of the energy in the form of heat.
  • They don’t require a lot of maintenance. Drop components used in today’s petrol engines like spark plugs, belts, oil and oil changes.
  • They have zero emissions. In fact, the emissions caused by electric cars are through charging the car and using electricity, which are 35-60% fewer than a normal car emissions.
  • Now imagine Beirut without all that smog!

 

 

Let’s get straight to the point and cover the issues we raised with Kettaneh:

 

The charging time for the e-Up is around 4 hours and you can plug it just like your phone charger. The best time to charge it is when you’re asleep or at work. A more powerful, 16A charger is available but that requires a special set-up.

 

 

A universal charger that you can plug into any wall.

 

 

The full charge range that you can travel on in this car is 130 Km. It is affected by your driving style, and like all electric cars, reaching an optimum consumption level is a learning curve where you learn to adapt.

 

 

A Garmin system allows data like consumption and driving range to be tracked and recorded.

 

 

Extreme weather, especially freezing temperatures, affects the range of an electric car. Thankfully for us, our weather is moderate so this should not be an issue.

 

The Lebanese roads will affect efficiency. As long as you don’t have lots of uphills to cover the car will perform well. The person testing the car claimed that it traveled from Dora to Jbeil and only consumed 3 Kilometers, that’s while staying within the blue range and re-charging using kinetic energy whenever possible. As you go up a hill it consumes more especially if you don’t pay attention to the blue zone. Consequently, the car consumed 40 more Kilometers from Jbeil to Adma. The good thing with electric cars is that as long as you’re stationary or stuck in traffic, you’re not spending anything.

 

 

The blue zones are where you are at your optimum consumption level.

 

 

The car recharges when you’re going downhill using 3 re-charge modes: D1, D2 and D3. D1 can work on a slightly inclined road. As it gets steeper, you can switch to D2 and then D3 to re-charge the battery while on the move. These function like a downshift, but apply the brakes and use the kinetic energy produced.

 

 

Smart and simple interior

 

 

We were taken on a spin in the car and what came as a shock is the absence of engine sound. Feeling a car accelerate and drive with no sound for the first time will awe you.

 

 

The silent engine, very few bells and whistles, low maintenance.

 

 

Still wondering if an electric car can fit your lifestyle? It’s a car mainly for people who commute from A to B and from B to A. It works extremely well within the city, but for the longer trips, keep in mind that all electric cars will consume more battery when you’re going uphill. Depending on your lifestyle, if you don’t have lots of unexpected trips and can accommodate the charging time needed, an electric can be suitable and rewarding for you.

 

 

So why don’t we have electric cars in the market yet? The reasons are many.

 

  • There are no government incentives, or a plan of any sort to support the adoption of electric cars. Other countries pushing for the adoption offer tax and customs incentives.
  • The AIA , also known as the association of automobile importers in Lebanon, should file a report and hand it to the government to push this forward.
  • The price can be off-putting. We don’t have a clear idea on the assumed price of such a car, but what we do know is that an electric car costs more on average than a petrol car.

 

In your opinion, would you think an electric car would perform well in Lebanon? And would you own one? 

 

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