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Chinese e-car firms find evangelist in Egyptian market

China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-29 10:13
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Workers check e-cars on a production line of Dongfeng Liuqi Motors in Liuzhou city, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Li Bin/for China Daily]

CAIRO - There has been little awareness of the value of electric cars among Egyptians, but things are changing after an Egyptian company began to make a difference.

Darshal has become an agent of Chinese companies Dongfeng Liuqi Motor and Vasworld Power for collecting and selling electric commercial and passenger vehicles.

Darshal will invest $53 million in the electric car program in Egypt, according to Hassan el-Desoqy, its board chairman.

"Egypt has a large base of ordinary cars but lacks electric vehicles," said Desoqy, adding that Darshal will be the only one in Africa and the Middle East that will make e-car batteries.

After lengthy dialogues between his company and the Egyptian side, Wang Li, CEO of Vasworld Power Co Ltd, said: "Finally, the new energy vehicles will enter the Egyptian market, which has a great potential with its high purchase power and unique location as gateway to Africa and the Arab countries."

Wang said now is the right time to enter the Egyptian market and prepare to reap benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative and the close ties between Egypt and China.

The electric vehicles industry is promoted in many countries now as the world is moving toward electricity and other renewable energies, Desoqy said.

Having worked for 12 years in the car spare parts industry in China, Desoqy said the Asian country is highly advanced in the vehicles industry.

In 2014, there were only 50,000 electric vehicles sold in China, but in 2018 the number has increased by 10 times, said Jacob George, vice-president and general manager of Asia-Pacific at the US-based global marketing information services company J.D. Power.

Desoqy praised the Chinese government's support for increasing the safety of batteries, adding that he was surprised at the Chinese accomplishments in car technology.

He also said he is confident about introducing the new idea to Egypt, so he became the agent of the Chinese companies.

Desoqy's company will introduce different types of vehicles like vans, SUVs and trucks, with trucks expected to be unveiled in December and SUVs in eight months.

Kamal Abdel Hamid, head of the quality control and design department at the Engineering Automotive Manufacturing Co, the Egyptian government's partner of Darshal, said China has as rich an experience in nonpetrol vehicles as the European countries, with cheaper prices that match the Egyptian markets.

"To test the market first and measure the purchase power, as it is a new technology, we will start with producing 500-1,000 cars as experimental production," Hamid said.

The factory plans to achieve an annual production capacity of 10,000 vehicles within five years for the Arab and African markets. he said.

Non-petrol vehicles will attract more customers in the future because they are more environmentally friendly and less costly, as the local gas prices have risen lately, partly due to the lifting of subsidies on energy amid the country's economic austerity reforms.

The high prices of fuel imposed burdens on Egyptian citizens, Hamid said, highlighting the fact that electricity is cheaper.

Although electric cars may take some time to prevail, Hamid expected high turnout of clients, because it will be cheaper with better safety and availability of spare parts.


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