Electric Cars Exhibition in Beirut: A future delayed by the banking and energy crises

Electric Cars Exhibition in Beirut: A future delayed by the banking and energy crises
Electric Cars Exhibition in Beirut: A future delayed by the banking and energy crises

When you enter the Forum de Beirut, you will feel like you are in a time capsule, you will need some time to absorb the situation. You will find yourself in a building that has signs of rust on the outside, and looks very much like a country one. But the scene inside tells a different story.

In its second edition 2023, which will run from May 10 to May 14, the participants in the E-Motorshow will vary between electric vehicles, including cars, buses and bicycles. It also offers chargers, batteries and renewable energy solutions, in addition to environmentally friendly accessories and spare parts. There are also operating systems and software for vehicles.

“It is the future that imposes itself on our present in this flabby country,” says one of them, then elaborates on explaining his product and the importance of renewable energy compared to fossil fuels and environmental pollution.

The phrases of sustainability and clean energy are repeated frequently throughout the fair, as if the local participants were looking for non-commercial reasons (a noble cause) to do business. Or perhaps the future they so passionately talk about seems a bit vague.

Car tour
Mercedes occupies a large part in the exhibition, as it presents a wide range of its Mercedes-EQ cars. These cars have dimensions similar to some conventional models such as the E-class and S-class. We have EQE, EQS and EQA. And let’s not forget the AMG electric sports version, as the manufacturers were keen to maintain the enthusiasm of its fans, whether in terms of performance or even sound. Also expected to be available on the market in 2024 is the EQG car for G-Class enthusiasts, as well as the Maybach electric car.

In addition to Mercedes, the Porsche Taycan 4 shines at a price ranging between 130 and 160 thousand dollars, depending on the specifications and additions. Audi also seems confident in the range it has reached in its latest electric SUV, the Q6 e-tron, which reached 600 km. As for BMW, the i4 and iX models attract young people, as they gather around them to take pictures, while the i7 looks straight lines, suggesting that it was made for businessmen. There is also a Mazda car and a few cars from MG, Hyundai, KIA, Peugeot, and Chevrolet, then it reaches the Chinese cars BYD and GEELY, which offer electric cars in small sizes and competitive prices, with a long history of Chinese manufacturers in electric car technology.

As in conventional cars, electric cars can be divided into luxury, mid-range, small and economy cars. But one gets the feeling that luxury cars are trying to provide the best service in terms of media, drivers and entertainment systems, and it seems that they are trying to compensate customers for the potential loss of fuel-powered engines in the future. Although the number of electric cars is still small, and they rarely break down compared to conventional cars, this sector seeks to provide specialized maintenance centers ready to serve these cars.

Chargers and difficult questions
The EV Chargers on display vary in size, shape and charging power. Some car companies have private home charging units. There are also international and local companies that provide products and solutions for charging electric vehicles. And a good amount of space is dedicated to companies specialized in the field of solar energy, which also offer solar chargers for electric cars (Solar EV Charger).

The power of these charging units ranges between 7.2KW and 11KW for home, 22KW in cafe and restaurant stands, then 50KW power in shopping centers and gas stations, where it can reach 150KW. The higher the charging power, the less time it takes to charge the car. But it is not the only rule, the choice of the shipper is one of the pillars of the equation. But before that, choosing a car comes with a range that suits its owner and the distances he needs to travel between, then how he manages the range and chooses roads and charging stations.

The sales market for these chargers is in its infancy and is moving slowly. The number of electric cars is still few in Lebanon. In order for a restaurant, hospital or coffee shop to buy some of these chargers and install them in customers’ parking lots, they have to get their investment back within a specific period of time. That seems difficult at the moment.
Car prices, in turn, seem to be an obstacle to the speed of its spread, as the prices of small and economical cars are twice the prices of their traditional counterparts. Although there is almost unanimity among the participants that the cost of electric charging will be half the cost of gasoline, there is a definite factor hovering over the issue as a whole. This market will not be active in light of the current situation of banks (without payment facilities) and electricity in Lebanon.

new era?
There is no doubt that electric cars are the cars of the future. 18% of global car production this year. It is possible to simply peep into the future, by looking at Norway’s sales figures this year: 80% of electric cars.. It is possible to talk for hours about technology and the latest technologies in the manufacture of electric motors that have existed for a hundred years. Today, however, it has enormous torque, and can spin at top speed for much longer. All of these technologies make the electric vehicle more efficient in moving from point to point, more energy efficient, more efficient in maintenance and spare parts, and more environmentally friendly.

Will the E-Motorshow be the beginning of a new era in the world of transportation? Are we on our way to the future, or has the country’s reality become an obstacle to any progress? Of course the market will eventually set the tone, but when will that happen?