The Middle East, long known as a bastion of the oil industry, is joining the global trend toward electric vehicles. With the announcement of new partnerships in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain, Zeekr, Geely’s premium EV subsidiary, has made significant progress. It’s clear that the energy landscape is changing, and that the region wants to diversify away from fossil fuels, so this move is about more than just business.
Zeekr has recently expanded into several European countries, such as Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands; this new venture in the Middle East follows this trend. The company has already established connections in Israel and Kazakhstan; with these new alliances, it hopes to further expand its reach into strategic Middle Eastern markets.
The companies with which we have formed these alliances are household names in their respective countries’ automotive industries. Zeekr recently married AW Rostamani Group in the United Arab Emirates, Wallan Group in Saudi Arabia, Blue Lake Motors in Qatar, and Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons Group in Bahrain. The company hopes to strengthen its sales and support infrastructure by forming these partnerships.
What exactly is Zeekr going to do for these industries? The Zeekr X compact SUV and the Zeekr 001 shooting brake are the company’s flagship electric vehicles. Both are based on the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), which is known for meeting worldwide regulatory standards and performing well in warmer climates, making it an excellent fit for the Middle Eastern climate.
Vice President Chen Yu made a remark about the increasing demand for high-end EVs with cutting-edge technology in the Middle East. He emphasized that all SEA-based Zeekr models are ready for international distribution. Zeekr isn’t just about making a buck; it also wants to improve local sales networks through partnerships, giving customers more of a feel-good, all-encompassing experience.
In the grand scheme of things, the increased activity of the Chinese electric vehicle market in the Middle East occurs at a pivotal time. The United Arab Emirates was named as one of the top ten export destinations in a report by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Moreover, investments such as CYVN Holdings’ $1.1 billion in NIO, supported primarily by the Abu Dhabi Government, and Human Horizons’ massive $5.6 billion deal with Saudi Arabia point to a more profound convergence.
The context of these actions is crucial. About 60% of all oil used is consumed by the transportation sector. Motor vehicles? More than a quarter of it is consumed by them. Strategic diversification into cleaner energy alternatives is thus not merely sensible for oil giants of the Middle East; it is crucial. Research firm Gartner projects that by 2026, China will produce more than half of the world’s electric vehicles. So, it looks like China’s electric vehicle (EV) experts are going to be able to take a sizable bite out of this booming market.
Zeekr’s rise to prominence has been meteoric. The company, which didn’t exist until 2021, unveiled the Zeekr 001 in April and had it rolling into Chinese driveways by October. In November 2022, Zeekr released the Zeekr 009 MPV, and in April 2023, Zeekr released the Zeekr X. A very quick schedule by any standard.