If COP28 taught us anything, it is that the road to clean energy is long and winding. That situation is not going to get any easier, with global economic projections forecasting the world economy could more than double in size by 2050, with emerging markets potentially growing twice as fast as advanced economies.
For an exciting, dynamic, emerging market like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the scale of growth could be even higher – and that means substantial challenges for energy and sustainability.
Developing new green technologies to ensure that long-term growth is environmentally sustainable will be of utmost importance. The UAE has already invested over US$40 billion in clean energy and plans to invest an additional US$163 billion over the next three decades.
Meeting that growth curve in the UAE will require energy, mobility, technology, and sustainability – and this is where NWTN fits in.
“NWTN is a pioneering green energy company dedicated to providing passenger-focused, premium new energy vehicle products and green energy solutions to customers worldwide,” says Alan Wu, Chairman and CEO of NWTN.
“We are committed to the future of mobility solutions that integrate pioneering design, personalised lifestyles, Internet of Everything (IoT), autonomous driving technology, and the ecosystem of green energy.”
NWTN – the name is an abbreviation of the scientific pioneer Sir Isaac Newton – is exploring opportunities and developing solutions across the clean energy value chain, in what it calls the ‘Trilogy’. Put simply, the Trilogy involves creating energy, storing energy, and utilising energy.
NWTN is currently developing renewable energy solutions that will provide whole industrial and residential districts as well as business centres with sustainable sources of energy.
Energy storage solutions that meet the UAE’s unique needs and help it to achieve its renewable energy targets are also in the pipeAlane.
Utilising that energy comes in the form of mobility solutions – such as the groundbreaking Rabdan Muse, which was on proud display at COP28 in Dubai as the UAE’s first vehicle brand.
“NWTN is focused on establishing Rabdan as the UAE's first homegrown new energy vehicle (NEV) brand,” says Alan.
“Our business mission and purpose is in lockstep with the UAE’s transformative vision for a sustainable, new energy industry. Through a blend of localised expertise, innovative design, and agile global supply chains, we strive to meet and exceed these national benchmarks, setting a new standard for sustainable transportation both within the UAE and across the globe.”
This is not just some future vision, Rabdan is right here, right now.
NWTN recently obtained the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) certification, which demonstrates that NWTN is a UAE national brand, with all of its vehicles being produced in Abu Dhabi – the capital of the UAE.
The company also received the prestigious ‘Made in the Emirates’ recognition from the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) – making it the first NEV to carry that badge of honour.
“NWTN is building an electric vehicle aggregation platform,” says Alan. “We are closely monitoring and integrating advanced EV technologies and supply chains from around the world. Leveraging our capital, market, and localisation strengths in the Middle East, we aim to swiftly introduce products under our own brand IP to the local market.”
That began with Rabdan One, which Alan says demonstrates NWTN’s deep understanding of the local market.
By leveraging world-leading advanced NEV supply chains, NWTN aims to assemble future Rabdan vehicles in Abu Dhabi and aims for a 40% localisation rate – incorporating designs and adjustments to the vehicle software and user experience to tailor a perfect fit for the Middle East market's demands and environment.
The Rabdan brand is inspired by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and first president of the UAE, and regarded as the Father of the Nation. Rabdan was the name of the Sheikh’s first horse – a purebred Arabian horse whose name means strength, courage, and fearlessness.
“We believe that our products being made in the UAE can foster a sense of national pride,” says Alan. “They showcase the country's capabilities and innovations on a global stage, enhancing its reputation and prestige.”
For a long time, the automobile industry has focused on the driver. Today, NWTN is pioneering a concept focused on the needs of all the passengers, which it calls Passenger-Centricity.
This passenger-centricity is brought to life through a unique segment of vehicles the NWTN calls Smart Passenger Vehicles (SPVs).
“NWTN will create products and experiences that define the unique segment of SPV,” says Alan. “We will lead the SPV evolution, as a digital lifestyle platform for green intelligent mobility, via a line-up of NWTN models. We believe that the SPV combines intelligent technologies and services in a unique, premium mobility hub.”
SUBHEAD: Importance of partnerships
Partnerships are essential to the success of any endeavour, and especially so when it comes to tackling clean energy and ensuring a sustainable future.
Alan says that NWTN is aligned with the UAE’s ambitions, so strategic partnerships and collaborations are very important.
One of those is with Abu Dhabi Ports Group which has an MoU with NWTN to facilitate NWTN's expansion in the UAE; to provide support in logistics, local manufacturing, shipments, customs clearance, financing, and vehicle distribution; and to foster economic growth and development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Then there is an MoU with Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) to enhance cooperation and contribute to the development of the automotive industry. NWTN has agreed to establish and construct an integrated production line, as well as to expand its factory in Abu Dhabi.
NWTN has also signed an MoU with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to expand on its existing facilities in the trade, logistics, and manufacturing hub, KEZAD. NWTN will play a key role in accelerating the emirate’s green automotive industry.
ADDED and ADIO also spearheaded the creation of the fully integrated SAVI cluster covering the design, testing, and manufacturing of smart and autonomous transportation and mobility solutions. The newly formed cluster will provide state-of-the-art facilities, services, and regulatory enablement to attract and support innovation and commercialisation of advanced autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies in the UAE, unlocking their full global potential.
“At NWTN, we are leading the revolution in green mobility, combining pioneering design with cutting-edge autonomous driving technology,” says Alan. “As we expand our footprint in Abu Dhabi, we not only help propel the UAE into a zero-emissions future, but also champion sustainable transportation solutions for the UAE and the region.”
For emerging nations such as the UAE, the development of an automotive industry represents an opportunity for economic growth, technological advancement, and a significant step towards broader industrialization and modernization.
Developing a domestic automotive industry can drive technological innovation and skill development, and often leads to advancements in related areas like robotics, autonomous technologies, electronics, and materials science.
“The UAE has the opportunity to leapfrog traditional automotive technologies and invest in cleaner, more sustainable vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicles, which can have long-term environmental benefits,” adds Alan.
“Overall, the establishment of an automotive industry in emerging countries like the UAE is not just about producing cars; it's also about fostering broader economic development, technological advancement, and strategic independence.”
Alan believes that the time and the place is right for NWTN to deliver success and help the UAE achieve its clean energy goals.
He says governments in the GCC are very supportive of a transition from petrol cars to EVs and have implemented supportive policies and incentives throughout the entire value chain, supporting the growth of the industry and the market.
However, Alan admits that the charging infrastructure in the UAE and wider region is still in its infancy, and this is hampering the sales of EVs as consumers suffer from range anxiety heightened by lack of rapid chargers.
Alan believes this highlights a gap in the market that can be filled by NWTN.
“This is where the range extender technology fits in. It provides the best of both worlds.
This is the reason the first products for the Rabdan brand are range-extended cars,” he says. “The range-extended cars help convert consumers into EV buyers. Once consumers experience the benefits and driving feel of an EV, they will never go back to a petrol car.”
Alan says NWTN is on an exciting journey, but not without its challenges – and opportunities.
Those challenges include navigating a complex regulatory environment. The rules around autonomous vehicles and green energy are still shaping up in the UAE, and keeping up with these changes is crucial. Then there is the pace of technology – it is fast and relentless.
“Staying ahead in IoT and autonomous driving means we need to be constantly innovating and investing,” he says. “Plus, the more we rely on IoT and autonomous systems, the more we need to up our game in cybersecurity to protect our users and their data.
“On the flip side, there are some fantastic opportunities ahead. The world is shifting towards sustainable energy, and that is right in our core strengths, offering us significant growth potential. Being at the forefront of IoT and autonomous driving tech positions us to be leaders in this field.”
Looking ahead, NWTN has a clear vision that goes beyond new energy vehicles.
The company is exploring opportunities in the entire clean energy value chain, including photovoltaics, green hydrogen power, and energy storage in the UAE, the Middle East, North Africa, China, other Asian countries, and Europe.
“NWTN is uniquely positioned to deliver UAE-made products to a global customer base,” says Alan.
“The timing is right: we are addressing global market opportunities.”
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