Interview – Electric Chevrolets in the Middle East

Speaking to Farah Amhaz, Head of Brand, Chevrolet, Middle East about electric cars

Here’s an interview I did as part of research for an article published in The National newspaper Abu Dhabi. Due to space constraints I was only able to use a very small portion of it, but it’s fascinating stuff, so here is the full text.

Q. How has the Chevrolet Bolt been received in the region?

First debuted at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show, the Bolt EV was one of the most highly anticipated models ever from Chevrolet and, when it arrived, it proved to be a game changer in the region’s electric vehicle space. Promising worry-free range and fun-to-drive characteristics, the Bolt EV has been changing customer perceptions of driving electric since it hit roads in the UAE.

At last year’s DIMS (Dubai Motor Show), we unveiled the 2020 model which can now go farther than ever before with an increased range of up to 565km on a single charge. An increase of 45km on previous models, the Bolt EV is a practical everyday solution for environmentally conscious drivers. To contextualize the increased range, an additional 45km equates to an extra day driving, meaning the 2020 Bolt EV range is about the same as a traditional internal combustion engine.

With range anxiety one of the main barriers to adoption, we anticipate that the 2020 Bolt EV will build on the previous generations’ customer excitement and offer a practical solution to everyday travel, driving further adoption across the Middle East.

Q. What kind of customer buys the Bolt EV?

The Bolt EV is the first EV we have brought to the region and it is performing well. What is exciting for us is that the Bolt EV has a varied fan base, attracting life-long GM customers and new, environmentally-conscious customers alike.

Standing out as the first long-range EV in its segment, the Bolt EV has been hitting the roads across cities in the region and we expect this trend to continue with the 2020 model.

Q. Based on the experience of launching an all-electric car in the region – how has the market evolved in terms of its interest in and receptiveness of electric cars?

We have seen government and consumer commitment to a more sustainable future across the Middle East. Joining the focus and incentives that the UAE has brought to alternative propulsion and its drivers here, General Motors has reaffirmed our commitment in the region with the announcement of the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV following the 2019 model.

One of the greatest barriers to EVs is range anxiety and we can help ease this stress with the Bolt EV, which boasts a leading range of up to 565km. We’re providing customers the choice of an EV that can perform well and needs similar ‘refills’ to an internal combustion engine.

However, we need to go further than providing a reliable vehicle. Having the right infrastructure is also required to address concerns and have EVs merge into everyday life. In the UAE, we work closely with GreenParking to help establish a network of aligned and accessible charging stations, as well as the regulation to guide implementation.

An evolution such as this does not happen overnight. We are committed to working with the communities we operate in to identify the right opportunities, not only to bring cars to the region, but also grow awareness and preference today, and ensure the right infrastructure and legislation is in place for future innovations.

Q. Will you be introducing more electric cars onto the market?

While we won’t speculate, we are committed to a future of Zero Emissions, Zero Crashes and Zero Emissions and see this as a near reality. We’ve already announced that our upgraded electric architecture will debut in Cadillac vehicles, blending performance and clean technology with no compromise on luxury.

With the all-electric future we foresee in mind, all of the technology rolling into current General Motors vehicles is meant to support this. The platform can carry a lot of different things into the future for General Motors and we look forward to see what will come next.

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