Under the themes of Sustainability, Opportunity and Mobility, there is little surprise that one could easily mistake the World Expo 2020 for an Auto-show, given the variety of hypercars, electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, driverless taxis and even bubble cars, on display. The one thing they all have in common: they are better for the environment.
Nevera by Rimac
As Expo 2020 is hosted in Dubai, home to the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa, and the largest fountain – the Pointe, among other world records; the world’s fastest electric hypercar – Nevera by Rimac from Croatia – was in good company.
The cutting-edge technology enables the 4 motors to power one wheel each. With 1,914 horsepower, acceleration from 0-100km/h is achieved in roughly 1.85 seconds. You can expect a range of 550km on a single charge, and to recharge from 0 – 80% state of charge in 19-minutes (500kw). You are guaranteed to stand out in the crowd as each Nevera is unique for they are customizable with a range of bespoke trims and material options for buyers to choose from, so you can make it distinctively yours.
At the Swedish Pavilion, the Gemera Hybrid stood at the entrance of the forest-themed pavilion. With 1,700 horsepower (1,268 kW) this all-wheel-drive boasts a 2.0-litre three-cylinder ICE with 3 electric motors: 1 for each rear wheel with 500 bhp and 1000 Nm each, and 1 on the crankshaft with 400 bhp and 600 Nm to power the front wheels. According to the Koenigsegg the Gemera can travel up to 50km in Electric-Vehicle-only mode and a further 950km highway cruise speed in hybrid-mode, before needing to refill.
Pushing boundaries even further, with out-of-this-world ambitions, China showcased a concept vehicle designed for flying and underwater travel. This ‘KUN’ vehicle is the goal of SAIC Motor Middle East, a company listed on the China’s A-share market. Solar panels line the top of the vehicle and extend to the rear window glass.
If a sportscar or dream car is not in your budget, on the other end of the spectrum is the urban dweller’s dream car – Switzerland’s bubble car, the Microlino. At 2.5 x 1.4 x 1.5 meters, cross-parking enables 3 vehicles to fit into one parking bay. It will take you 5 seconds to reach 50 km/h and you can push this little car to around 90km/h. But the true beauty of this vehicle is that it takes 60% less energy to produce and use than other electric cars. Carbon Dioxide in production of EVs is an important consideration in the fight to net zero carbon emissions. That, and it comes with a sunroof.
In line with a growing preference not to own and maintain a personal vehicle, you may find yourself more interested in the Nissan self-driving taxi, displayed in the UAE Pavilion. Txai, a free service for residents, allows these driverless taxis to be hailed through an app. It launched in Abu Dhabi in December 2021. The fleet consists entirely of electric and hybrid cars. The concept allows for 24×7 uninterrupted service. The pilot phase is currently underway and bound within seven locations on the Emirate’s Yas Island. If you’re an early adopter, you may well want to get your hands on 2022 Nissan Leaf, which features autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. Nissan has built a strong reputation in the EV market, having launched the first mass market EV competing with Tesla’s Model S for the US market, and, depending on who you talk to, even dominating the pre-owned market.
Back in Dubai, home of Expo 2020, General Motors Co. entered into an agreement to begin operating its Cruise LLC self-driving taxis in Dubai in 2023. The expectation is to have 4,000 driverless Origin shuttles in the Dubai by 2030.
Green charging solutions
Expo 2020 is personifying the shift to green energy, becoming an energy source in itself. The world’s first electric vehicles charged using off-grid solar power were unveiled at the start of the 6-month event. The official logistics partner to Expo 2020, UPS, make use of solar energy flowing from panels on top of the DP World’s FLOW Pavilion, through an inverter, to an off-grid Battery Energy Storage System unit to charge its fleet of electric vehicles.
Also breaking records, is the fastest all-in-one charger currently on the market, the Terra 360 by ABB, which debuted at the Sweden Pavilion, and can deliver up to 360 kW of power and a full charge in less than 15 minutes. Impressively, each charging unit can supply energy to 4 vehicles all at once, supporting CCS-1, CCS-2, CHAdeMO and AC Type-2, and a useful 5-meter cable for flexible parking.
The future is green
If these innovations, and the numerous other electric vehicles and clean energy projects proudly boasted on the screens and interactive exhibitions of various countries, are anything to go by; the future is hopeful.
World Expo mega events showcase important geo-economic trends and it is apparent that electric vehicles will displace harmful Internal Combustion Engine vehicles. History has taught us that technology innovation usually drives down costs, which will be instrumental in answering the questions that remain: how soon with EVs take over, and which manufacturer will lead the market?