Manufacturer ‘Quds Rise’ hopes to have 10,000 vehicles produced next year in this crippled Mediterranean country.
A Lebanese-made electric car made its debut, it was the first time that a Mediterranean country had produced a car, albeit struggling in the midst of serious economic crisis cut off power frequently.
The red sports car – dubbed “Quds Rise”, using Jerusalem’s Arabic name – was a project of Lebanese-born Palestinian businessman Jihad Mohammad.
This is “the first locally produced car,” Mohammad told reporters Saturday, at the premiere in a parking lot south of Beirut.
It was built in Lebanon “from start to finish,” he said of the prototype, decorated on the front with a golden emblem of the Dome of the Rock, the temple in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Islam’s third sacred site.
The car is priced at $ 30,000.
Production of up to 10,000 vehicles is expected to begin by the end of this year in Lebanon, said Mohammad, director of the Lebanon-based EV Electra company. .
Mohammad, 50, says he started the company four years ago after years abroad, employing Lebanese and Palestinian engineers among 300 employees.
He said his long-term goal is to compete in the international market for hybrid and electric cars, as well as achieve sales in Lebanon.
But the launch comes as Lebanon struggles amid its worst economic crisis in decades and imported car sales at record lows, partly due to capital controls and sharp devaluation. on the black market.
‘Step in the right direction’?
Dealers sold only 62 new cars in the first two months of 2021, nearly 97 percent less than the same period a year ago, figures released by the Lebanese Association of Automobile Importers.
The economic crisis since the end of 2019 has decreased more half of the population fell into poverty.
However, Mr. Mohammad said potential buyers in Lebanon will have the opportunity to pay half the new electric car in dollars, the rest in Lebanese pound at a better exchange rate than the market. black, paid within 5 years with no interest.
Lebanon also relies on fossil fuels to generate electricity, which is already insufficient for a population of about six million people to have daily electricity cuts.
To power its new electric cars, the company plans to set up about 100 charging stations across the country to connect to generators.
These can be powered by solar energy and wind energy, says Mohammad.
Independent energy analyst Jessica Obeid welcomes the innovation, but says vehicles will only be eco-friendly if the power sector takes reform seriously.
“The energy sector is the largest contributor to Lebanon’s greenhouse gas emissions,” she told AFP news agency.
However, she added, “if the electric car had a solar charging station, it would be a step in the right direction.”