When you think of regions known for international
car brands, America, Europe, and East Asia might come to mind first.
One Lebanese-born businessman is trying to change this by putting Lebanon on the automotive map, especially and remarkably in the emerging market of
affordable electric vehicles(EVs).
These could be charged up with power from alternative energy sources—a much-needed innovation given the country’s reliance on fossil fuels combined with the far-reaching impacts of a worsening economic crisis.
Here is what you need to know about Electra, the newest EV carmaker that is about to hit the global stage.
The Lebanese-made car
Al Jazeera, "Quds Rise" is the name of Electra’s first vehicle, a
sports carwhich company founder Jihad Mohammad was proud to announce as the first completely locally-made vehicle for Lebanon. The company was started four years ago and now has international offices in Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, and Norway, according to
Their goals are to "support… the world’s transition to sustainable energy," and make sales at home in Lebanon and around the world. They hope to establish an international brand presence in the coming years.
The Quds Rise was made with patriotism in mind. Al Jazeera reported that Lebanese and Paletinian engineers were employed to create the car, which features the Dome of the Rock in gold at the front, honoring the shrine at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Can Lebanon sustain a new car company?
Reporters have raised concerns about whether Electra can succeed given Lebanon’s devastating economic crisis and regular power cuts.
To oversimplify a complex issue, the Lebanese Pound has tanked in the past two years, losing about 90% of its value, as reported by
Al Jazeera. This has wiped out people’s savings and caused supply shortages and high prices which have affected essentials like food and gasoline.
Roaming power outages are also common, affecting almost all aspects of daily life, and certainly the potential for effective EV charging.
In the first two months of 2021, only 62 new cars were sold throughout the whole country. Unfortunately, this doesn't sound like the most hospitable environment in which to start a new car company.
But this hasn't deterred Mohammad and Electra. To encourage buying, those in Lebanon will be able to pay for the new car over five years, half in dollars and half in pounds. Consumers will also receive a better exchange rate than what could be found on the black market and—to top it off—no interest.
Electra plans to build 100 generator-powered charging stations around Lebanon. These generators could be powered by
solarand wind, which wouldn’t be impacted by fuel shortages from traditional fossil fuel sources. This is a much-needed step, as the energy sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Lebanon, according to an independent analysis reported by Al Jazeera.
A revolutionary electric vehicle
Electra is designing some truly beautiful cars that seem reminiscent of Italian sports car designs. While the company has several concept cars, only the Quds Rise is slated to go into production in the near future.
While the Quds Rise looks sporty, it’s a bit more modest under the hood. The engine delivers 160 horsepower and a top speed of 102 mph, which are respectable numbers, though not the most competitive for a sports car. Its range is reportedly 279 miles, and it comes at an expected price of $30,000.
By next year, Electra plans to produce 10,000 of these cars for sale. It has yet to be determined if and when they will be made available in the United States.
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