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Wednesday, 21 September 2022

The king of EVs in MENA?

French automaker Renault will start producing EVs at its Tangier plant in 2023, Ryad Mezzour, Morocco’s Industry and Commerce Minister, tweeted Wednesday. Renault Maroc is aiming to produce 17k Mobilize Duo brand EVs each ear at its existing auto assembly plant in Tangier when it becomes fully operational. Half of the production inputs going into the EVs will be made from recycled materials, the Africa Press Agency reports. Mezzour did not say whether the EVs made at the facility would be sold locally or marked for export.

SOUND SMART- Morocco has transformed itself into a regional automotive powerhouse through smart incentives and consistent government policy and is now a key exporter to Europe as well as to other MENA countries, including Egypt.

Morocco already has a thriving EV assembly industry with plans to make it bigger: Renault and Stellantis already operate EV assembly facilities producing 700k cars each year, Mezzour told Reuters back in July. Citroen also produces around 50k EV buses per year with plans to double that output in two years. All in all, Morocco is targeting the production of around 1 mn EVs in the next three to four years, Mezzour said.

Renault is also looking at Morocco to source materials for batteries: Renault signed an agreement with Moroccan mining firm Managem to supply it with 5k tonnes per year of cobalt sulfate, to be used for its electric vehicles. Managem will supply the cobalt for a period of seven years starting in 2025, Renault announced back in June.

Morocco is also in talks to build a EV-battery ‘gigafactory,’ Mezzour said, suggesting contracts should be inked by year’s end. He did not name the partners with whom the country is speaking.

SMART POLICY- Pundits are tipping Morocco as a regional leader in EVs and an EV export hub to Europe, including Fitch and the Middle East Institute (MEI) (pdf). The kingdom’s mineral reserves — crucial to EV battery production, as well as its solar and wind resources qualify it to lead a “green mobility revolution,” the MEI study finds. To get there, Morocco has put together a comprehensive agenda: From developing a national master plan for electric mobility by the end of 2022, designating zones where fossil-fuel cars are banned, giving tax exemptions on EVs, to developing the infrastructure through an iSmart charging station.

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