Muscat: Filling stations in Oman need to adapt to the new means of transport if they want to stay relevant in the future, according to Salim Al Aufi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
Oman launched its first electric car charging stations in Sohar and Muscat as part of an electric vehicle (EV) promotional road-trip from Abu Dhabi to Muscat.
Although these charging points are currently installed at hotels, where customers can relax while their cars are charging, Al Aufi believes petrol pumps must consider what customers will want in the future instead of holding onto old business models.
“It is for filling stations to start embracing the future.
If they see the future as electric, then they need to start introducing electric charging.
If they see the future as hydrogen charging, then they should start hydrogen refuelling,” Al Aufi said.
“They should not lock themselves into an old business model that is outdated- that was the message we gave them many times. Read the future, understand the market, and predict what customers want.
We will be very happy to support them in any legislation that we control at the Ministry of Oil and Gas,” he added.
The ministry recently approved the introduction of M-98 grade fuel.
The ministry has also sanctioned the introduction of LPG as transport fuel, which will be available in the market soon.
EVs have witnessed rapid adoption with the introduction of Tesla vehicles.
The American EV manufacturer has sold tens of thousands of cars worldwide, and studies have shown that by 2040, more than a third of vehicles in the world will be electric.
Mainstream car manufacturers including Volvo, Volkswagen and General Motors have committed to going electric in the near future.
However, charging infrastructure remains the single greatest hurdle to EV adoption.
“Electric vehicles are coming and coming fast. We need to start adapting to this new reality and, therefore, we have made charging free at our stations. We have invested funds up to seven digits for building this charging infrastructure on the Global EVRT Middle East trip.
Our stations don’t just provide hardware; we look into the future where we know a lot of people will require this, so we have developed our software applications such that we have an intelligent charging management system,” said Sam Allawye, CEO of Green Parking, the company that installed the charging stations in Oman.
Oman's first EV The Sultanate will have its first "Made in Oman" EV by 2020 if Omani firm Nur Majan is successful in its plans.
With the company’s visionary chairman Sultan Al Amri Nur Majan at the helm, the EVs will be built in a factory in Suwaiq. The vehicles will have a range of 600km and will be able to travel more than 300km per hour with no speed restrictions installed.
“We had the concept ready in the mid-2000s, but we did not have the funding. Our new factory in Suwaiq will cover 150,000sqm. We noticed that EV maintenance costs a lot less than that of petrol vehicles due to fewer moving parts.
It costs only OMR148 per year to maintain an EV, while it costs OMR1,820 for a petrol-based car,” Sultan Al Amri said.