by Dana Halawi
BEIRUT, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon witnessed in the past few days an e-Motorshow, the first auto show dedicated entirely to electrified vehicles (EVs) and e-mobility in the Middle East, said the organizer.
Hundreds of people flocked to Forum De Beyrouth to check the latest innovations of EVs launched by car companies in Lebanon in the five-day event which kicked off on April 11.
Chinese car companies were among the most prominent participants in the exhibition.
"We have witnessed great interest by visitors in our EV cars," said Jeff Mourad, executive manager at Bazerji Motors, the importers of Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) cars.
GAC is a Chinese automobile maker headquartered in Guangzhou.
Mourad explained that GAC has been in the Lebanese market since 2012 selling regular cars, but now it is launching its first EV car, the Trumpchi GE3.
Mourad said that the GE3 can drive up to 530 kilometers after being charged for 8 hours or half an hour with a fast charger.
The car has not been priced yet, he added.
"The GE3 will be launched by the end of this year in Lebanon. We are testing it in the market for now it will be priced at a good price compared to other EVs available in the Lebanese market. The GE3 will provide a great quality to clients," he said.
Likewise, Ghayyas Ghandour, sales executive at Asian Motors, the importers of Chinese BYD cars, told Xinhua that the visitors at the exhibition showed great interest in the newly launched BYD EV car, Yuan.
"We have sold a few cars during this exhibition," he said.
People are seeing a lot of BYD cars on the roads in Lebanon which prompt them to visit the company and ask about the car, he added.
Ghandour said that BYD cars are well priced compared to other cars in the Lebanese market which is creating a competitive advantage for the vehicle.
"We also provide good quality and options at affordable prices," he said.
Yuan, for instance, is priced at 34,000 U.S. dollars in Lebanon compared to other EVs priced starting at 50,000 dollars, Ghandour noted.
Yuan can drive up to 360 km after being charged for 8 hours at home or for 20 min on a fast charger at a power station, he explained.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Dbouk, owner of AM Electric which imports a Tuc Tuc with the brand name Cool from China, said he has been in the Lebanese market for two years.
Cool is a two seat Tuc Tuc priced at 7,000 dollars while the Tricycle version of the Tuc Tuc is priced at 3,500 dollars in the Lebanese market.
Lebanon has become more conscious lately about the importance of promoting EVs in the local market in a bid to reduce pollution.
The budget law for 2018 included environmental incentives related to tax exemptions for new green cars which was proposed by the Environment Minister.
Patrick Ghassibeh, sales consultant at Porsche in Lebanon, said that the government has been supportive as it removed the custom fees on EVs.
"The Cayenne S was priced at 160,000 dollars before, but now we are selling it at 140,000 dollars on average without the custom fees," he said.
Ghassibeh said that his company has been offering hybrid cars since 2011 and there is an increasing demand for this kind of cars.
Likewise, Marwan Nachawaty, sales executive at Kettaneh, the importers of Audi cars, told Xinhua that the government removed customs fees on EVs which should attract more clients for this type of cars.
Bassoul-Heneine, the importers of Renault cars, launched in 2017 the first fully electric Renault Twizy, effectively introducing electric vehicles into Lebanon.
Moreover, former Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil inaugurated last year electric car charging stations in several areas in Lebanon.