Yes, this speed demon is all-electric. And no, you shouldn’t be surprised.
EV Lab was founded by Kevin Chalhoub, a Dubai-born, French-Lebanese entrepreneur with an education in clean energy and environmental engineering. After a stint abroad in the solar industry, he decided to return to Dubai to further his green ideas in a place synonymous with fast, luxury cars.
“Electric is a really good fit for the market,” he argues. Many high-spec EVs are able to accelerate faster than petrol-powered cars, while the shorter journeys typically taken by Dubai drivers compared to their European counterparts means mean they have less reason to worry about the driving range of car batteries.
The lightning-fast C_Two will enter production in 2021, priced at $2.4 million.
courtesy Rimac Automobili
Customers are split between “eco-conscious millennials” (among which Chalhoub includes himself) and “tech-savvy people” that are “all about performance.” He argues that electric serves both. “Year on year we’re seeing the price of EVs go down and their performance go up.”
“Today electric cars are an upgrade,” he says. “Too often sustainable solutions are perceived as a compromise in lifestyle, but this market is different.”
EV Lab opened in October last year and stocks a variety of models priced from around $25,000 up into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Undoubtedly the jewel in the crown will be the C_Two when available, which will be limited to three units this year and five to 10 in 2022.
During the pandemic the business has sold online, driving cars directly to prospective buyers for them to try. “It’s all about the test drive,” the founder says, “we really think that these products sell themselves.”
Isam Arshad, senior analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International, tells CNN recent consumer awareness campaigns, incentives and greater choice in the UAE have propelled “tremendous growth” in the sector, with sales estimated to rise 35% between 2020 and 2025.
A Green Charger station operated by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is disinfected in May 2020. DEWA charging stations for electric vehicles have been rolled out across the emirate and are free to use for Dubai-registered vehicles until the end of 2021.
Dubai Media Office
“The UAE is the perfect place to own an electric car, and the government has been promoting this for a long time,” says Arshad.
Perhaps adapting to local tastes will help with adoption. In Dubai “everything needs to have a touch of luxury,” says Arshad, adding that it’s luxury brands like Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, alongside Tesla, that are finding traction in the nascent EV market. A $2.4 million hypercar won’t be for everyone, but it’s a useful poster child for proving the point that high-performance luxury and electric are not mutually exclusive.
In April, EV Lab hopes to host a visit from Rimac on its global tour of the C_Two, where prospective customers can test drive the hypercar at the Dubai Autodrome. Then in September it will launch a showroom in the city.
He may be saying it with both his business and environmental hats on, but Chalhoub is bullish about the future of the industry: “If you’re still driving a combustion engine, it’s like driving horses when the car was invented.”