Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Meet Lightyear 0 — the EV from the future, now in the UAE



Good morning, wonderful people. Based on the paucity of news flow this week, it’s looking like more and more of you out there are waiting until COP27 to unveil new projects and partnerships.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- There’s no one story stealing the climate show in the region this morning as y’all hold your firepower ahead of COP. That said, there’s some interesting news from the GCC this morning: Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s FRV is investing in German solar firm Ecoligo; and we’ve got our eye on a sleek solar-powered EV out of Sharjah.

Speaking of COP: Some 50 global projects will be showcased at the summit through the Egypt- and UN-led climate finance roadshow, Egypt’s climate czar Mahmoud Mohieldin said yesterday. Some of those projects will serve as best-practice examples, while others will be looking to drum up finance in Sharm El Sheikh. Mohieldin was speaking at the fifth and final pre-COP regional climate finance roundtable in Geneva, Switzerland. We have more details below.


Egypt’s House of Representatives will debate a bill today that would, in part, regulate EV assembly in the country. The bill would set up a Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing that will set policies for the automotive sector in general, including EVs, and a fund to provide incentives to the local EV assembly industry. The bill will be sent to the floor of the House general assembly after getting its preliminary approval yesterday. If passed, the law will be sent to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to sign it into law, but will only come into effect once the executive regulations that bring it to life are published.

Need a refresher? We dove into the details of the legislation here.

ALSO TODAY- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is holding a webinar on North African food security from 1:00-4:45pm CLT. Topics will include the region’s dependence on cereal imports from global food markets (which have been rocked by the pandemic, war in Ukraine, and trade disruptions) and look at how North African countries will adapt to the global energy shortage. Tap or click here to register.

COUNTDOWN TO COP (19 days to go)-

Some 50 climate and development projects set to be showcased at COP27: A global climate finance roadshow organized by the UN and Egypt in the run-up to COP27 has identified 50 climate and development projects to be showcased during the Sharm El Sheikh conference, COP27 czar Mahmoud Mohieldin said at the roadshow’s fifth and final regional forum held yesterday, according to a statement (pdf). Some 400 projects were reviewed at the forums, which were held in each of the UN’s global regions. Enterprise's Going Green vertical took a look at the roadshow, which aims to bring together public and private stakeholders to drum up investment for national climate projects, a few weeks back.

Another 100 projects are earmarked for further review and possible funding: Another 100 projects will be posted online to discuss their financing and implementation, with many standing to benefit from the USD 130 tn committed by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) in November 2021, Mohieldin added.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will launch a water adaptation and resilience initiative at COP27 in coordination with the World Meteorological Organization, the president said in a speech at the opening of Cairo Water Week on Sunday. Egypt will launch the African Center for Water and Adaptation to Climate Change, in efforts to support African work in the field, as part of the initiative.

*** Take our EV survey: Are you an ex-petrolhead shopping around for your first electric vehicle? EV-curious and wondering what all the fuss is about? Or are you not ready to say goodbye to that sweet smell of benzene as you wait at the gas station?

We want to hear from you: We’re taking the pulse on how the region feels about MENA’s EV transition. Take a few minutes to fill out our short survey. We’ll be back with the results in a couple of weeks

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION– There isn’t a single big story dominating the global headlines today. Vying for your attention:

  • The “green revolution” is coming for coal country in the United States (Financial Times);
  • Natural disasters: Flooding has displaced 1.3 mn people and killed 600 in Nigeria, while several thousand people have been evacuated in Washington state in the US as fires rage.

THE NEXT BIG THING corporates will be accused of? That would be “green hushing.” Bloomberg reports that a growing number of western companies are so worried about being accused of greenwashing that they’re keeping their climate goals secret, according to a climate consultancy.

SMART POLICY- Indonesia’s government has told all state-owned companies to switch to EVs within three years, Bloomberg reported yesterday, part of the country’s goal to hit net-zero emissions by 2060. Some 3.5k buses run by state-owned operators will also be switched out for electric vehicles. The government said public firms could rent rather than buy to help allay the upfront costs of the switch. The move will also help slash the fuel subsidy budget, Indonesian news agency Antara quotes a top government official as saying.

WORTH READING- How should low-carbon hydrogen be priced? Most hydrogen currently produced goes to a “captive” market — it’s produced and consumed on site by industrial players, mostly makers of fertilizers and other chemicals. If low-carbon hydrogen is to become a viable large-scale alternative for fossil fuels, it will need to be traded through markets, like any other commodity, writes Ghassan Wakim, zero-carbon fuel production manager at the Clean Air Task Force, in an op-ed published last week. Until those markets are properly established, the usual forces of supply and demand won’t be strong enough to set a price on hydrogen, Wakim argues. In the meantime, global pricing mechanisms will need to be established to set a “fair” value that allows for global trade in the fuel. Wakim lays out several potential pricing regimes that could get hydrogen markets up and running.

WORTH NOTING- Remember the Nord Stream methane leaks? They’re dwarfed by the oil and gas industry’s business-as-usual emissions. The amount of methane released by the Nord Stream gas pipeline leaks earlier this month was equivalent to two days of the oil and gas industry’s usual methane emissions, writes Flavia Sollazzo, senior director of the Environmental Defense Fund Europe’s EU energy transition team. The leak is likely the biggest ever recorded in the oil and gas industry — but the real crisis is its day-to-day emissions of the harmful gas, Sollazzo says. The tech exists to eliminate 75% of these emissions, but legislation forcing the industry to implement it is lacking, she contends.

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THE DANGER ZONE- A call to action on Iraq’s climate change-driven food shortages on world food day: Worsening droughts caused by rising temperatures and reduced rainfall and water flows have increased Iraq’s soil salinity and harmed its arable land, driving food shortages, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme said in a joint statement (pdf) this week. That negatively impacts food production and puts a burden on the state budget from rising food imports, the statement notes on World Food Day.

GO DEEPER- We have explainers here and here on Iraq’s water troubles.


The International Exhibition of Renewable Energies Clean Energies and Sustainable Development will run from 24-26 October in Oran, Algeria. The event will focus on the role of startups in the green transition and the bankability of renewable energy projects.

ADIPEC will run from 31 October to 1 November in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Some 40 ministers from around the world, including eight from MENA, will attend the event. Those include energy and oil ministers from the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. Discussions will partly focus on the transition toward carbon neutrality, a statement picked up by Zawya details. You can register as an exhibitor here, and as an attendee here.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


Yet another GCC investment in an EU startup

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s FRV invests in Ecoligo: German solar-as-a-service provider Ecoligo raised a EUR 10 mn series A investment round from Spain’s Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a subsidiary of Saudi solar PV developer Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services. FRV’s venture capital division FRV-X said the investment will expand its portfolio to include commercial and industrial customers in a statement yesterday.

Ecoligo will use the investment to expand its operations, CEO Martin Baart was quoted as saying in the statement. The Berlin-based, emerging-markets focused startup also wants to use the funding to develop its crowdfunding platform.

What’s Ecoligo? The startup acts as a one-stop-shop for services in the solar space, including third-party financing (particularly through crowdfunding), planning, construction, and maintenance. Ecoligo has helped raise EUR 26 mn for EM solar projects yielding 82 MW in total, according to its impact page — meaning it’s still early stage, but it has potential. Its website lists projects in 11 countries, led by Vietnam, Kenya, and Costa Rica. Ecoligo has aided companies and institutions from spinning mills to universities in their transition to solar.

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services acquired FRV in 2015 after the pair established a JV the previous year. The renewable energy company, once a developer and now an independent power producer, has solar farms in Australia and Spain among other countries. FRV has a pipeline of more than 10 GW of PV plants, wind farms, battery energy storage and green hydrogen projects.


Drive for months without recharging with the solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV

Solar-powered EV Lightyear 0 showcased in the UAE: Netherlands-based firm Lightyear showcased its solar-powered EV Lightyear 0 at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) last week. SRTIP says Lightyear 0 is the world’s first long-range, production-ready solar electric vehicle. It was first unveiled by the company back in June.

A self-charging EV: Lightyear 0 charges its engine whenever its solar-panel roof absorbs sunlight, potentially allowing owners to drive for months without charging the battery, according to Lightyear. The five-seater has a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour, can cover 625 km on a full charge, and gains up to an additional 70 km of range daily from sunlight, the company notes.

Depending on how much sun it gets: Lightyear 0’s battery range will be dependent on driving habits, location, and season, the company notes. An Amsterdam driver with a 50-km daily commute could rack up 1k km on average between charges in the summer, it estimates.

The EV can also be recharged through normal household wall outlets: The car gets enough energy to cover 32 km in one hour’s worth of charging from a regular 3.7 kW socket.

Sustainable inside out: The car’s exterior is built from recycled carbon fiber, and its interior is made up of plant-based leather, repurposed rattan palm (flowering plants usually found in Asia, Africa and Australia), and recycled PET bottle fabrics.

The Lightyear 0 will retail for EUR 250k a pop (excluding VAT). You can order the car from Lightyear’s website here.

But they’re in limited supply: The Dutch company produced only 500 EVs, CEO of SRTIP Hussain Al Mahmoudi told Khaleeji Times, adding that most of the first batch have already been sold.

More to come: The Dutch firm will also be rolling out a much more affordable model, the Lightyear 2, in 2024 or 2025. The company has yet to officially price the new model, but Al Mahmoudi, estimates it will cost between USD 30-35k.

Regional collaboration: SRTIP is helping Lightyear raise funds from the region to scale production, Al Mahmoudi told the newswire, adding that SRTIP is setting up a research center in Sharjah in partnership with Lightyear to test their solar technology in the UAE.

More eco-friendly cars up SRTIP’s sleeve: A solar-powered automobile that has a 3k kilometer battery range and a hydrogen-powered car will soon be launched in Sharjah, Al Mahmoudi says.


Kuwait gets new electricity, water and renewable energy minister

Kuwait’s cabinet shuffle on Sunday saw the appointment of Amani Suleiman Bu-Qammaz (LinkedIn) as the new Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy Minister, according to a cabinet statement published Sunday. Qammaz will also serve as the country’s Public Works Minister. She previously worked as an assistant professor of civil engineering at Kuwait University’s College of Engineering and Petroleum, and as a specialist engineer at Kuwait’s Public Works Ministry.


The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) launched the third phase of Sharjah Sustainable City, Zawya reported on Monday. The residential development features water and energy-saving appliances and rooftop solar panels among other measures to reduce carbon footprint. Homes are built around a “green spine” that supports vertical farming, reusing water for irrigation, as well as a waste-to-energy plant.


  • Egypt is looking to partner with Siemens to upgrade its renewable energy infrastructure and work on green energy projects, according to a presidency statement on Sunday, following a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and chair of Siemens’ supervisory board Joe Kaiser.


We need to get our act together before we have no more cute animal videos to watch (and earth systems fail due to lack of biodiversity): Animal populations have dropped nearly 70% on average since 1970, a new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reveals (pdf). The WWF issued a dire warning about biodiversity loss, underscoring the calamitous side effects deforestation, industrial pollution and extreme weather have had on the 32k populations of 5.2k animal species scrutinized over the past 50 years. Freshwater populations declined by an average of 83% since 1970, and Latin America — home to the Amazon rainforest, where rampant deforestation has become a norm — saw average wildlife population size decline by 94% over the past 48 years. Africa had the second steepest drop at 66%. Asia and the Pacific came in third with a 55% decline, followed by North America with a 20% fall, and Europe and Central Asia with a 18% drop.



16-21 October (Sunday-Friday): Arab Conference of Plant Protection, Le Royal Hotel, Hammamet, Tunisia.

24-26 October (Monday-Wednesday): International Exhibition of Renewable Energies Clean Energies and Sustainable Development, Centre Des Conventions Mohammed Ben Ahmed, Oran, Algeria.

31 October (Monday): Deadline for proposals for Jordan’s USD 2 bn Aqaba-Amman desalination project.

Approval of EU draft document pushing countries participating in COP27 to to improve their climate change targets.


Sustainability Forum Middle East is taking place in Bahrain.

Nigeria hopes to secure USD 10 bn support package for green energy transition before COP27.

15 November (Tuesday): Hawkamah Annual Conference (Building Investor Confidence Through Governance), Dubai, UAE.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

23-24 November (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Conference on Sustainable Partnerships, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Deadline of bid submissions for the Ras Mohaisen – Baha – Makkah Independent Water Transmission Pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

COP27 sub-events:

Terra Carta Action Forum (2 days) organized by the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative.

UNFCCC’s capacity building hub.


13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): International Renewable Energy Congress, Hammamet, Tunisia.

15 December (Thursday) The UN’s 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), Montreal, Canada.


14-21 January (Saturday-Saturday): Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week takes place in the UAE.

16-18 January (Monday-Wednesday): EcoWASTE, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), UAE.


6-8 February (Monday-Wednesday): Saudi International Marine Exhibition and Conference, Hilton Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The second edition of The Arab Green Summit (TAGS), Dubai, UAE

MARCH 2023

15-19 March (Wednesday-Sunday): Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, Doha, Qatar.

JUNE 2023

1-3 June (Thursday-Saturday): Envirotec and Energie Expo, UTICA, Tunis, Tunisia.


Chariot Limited and Total Eren’s feasibility study on a 10 GW green hydrogen plant in Mauritania to be completed.


6-17 November (Monday-Friday): The UAE will host COP28.



KSA’s Neom wants to tender three concrete water reservoir projects to up its water storage capacity by 6 mn liters.


Early 2023: Egypt’s KarmSolar to launch KarmCharge, the company’s EV charging venture.

Mid-2023: Sale of Sembcorp Energy India Limited to consortium of Omani investors to close.

Phase C of the 900-MW of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai to be completed.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) steam cracker furnace powered by renewable energy to come online.


End-2024: Emirati Masdar’s 500 MW wind farm in Uzbekistan to begin commercial operations.

QatarEnergy’s industrial cities solar power project will start electricity production.

First 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.


Second 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.

UAE to have over 1k EV charging stations installed.


1Q 2026: QatarEnergy’s USD 1 bn blue ammonia plant to be completed.

End-2026: HSBC Bahrain to eliminate single-use PVC plastic cards.

Iraq’s Mass Group Holding wants to invest EUR 1 bn on its thermal plant Mintia in Romania to have 62% of run on renewable energy, while expanding its energy capacity to at least 1.29k MWh.


MENA’s district cooling market is expected to reach USD 15 bn.


UAE’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) wants to provide AED 35 bn in green financing.

UAE targets 14 GW in clean energy capacity.

Tunisia targets 30% of renewables in its energy mix.

Qatar wants to generate USD 17 bn from its circular economy, creating 9k-19k jobs.

Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to generate 10.5 GW of energy.


Qatar to capture up to 11 mn tons of CO2 annually.


Qatar’s Public Works Authority’s (Ashghal) USD 1.5 bn sewage treatment facility to reach 600k cm/d capacity.


Nigeria aims to achieve its net-zero emissions target.

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