A Light in the Darkness...
Lebanon’s Bank Governor Riad Salameh just announced that the Central Bank will lift subsidies on fuel imports. An inevitable decision considering the major economic crisis the country is facing since October 2019, translating into a fuel crisis, which has lately seen increased hours of power cuts and long lines of cars queuing at gas stations. In the middle of the chaos, one man chose to bet against all odds and build the first Lebanon-made electric car.
Jihad Mohammad looked like a proud man when unveiling Quds Rise to the public. It's the "first automobile to be made locally," he told reporters. It was built in Lebanon "from start to finish", he said of the prototype, emblazoned at the front with a golden logo of the Dome of the Rock, the shrine in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site.
After making his fortune in the telecommunications sector in Canada and in construction in the Gulf countries and Iraq, the businessman decided to launch himself in the automobile sector. "This is the first business of my life in Lebanon", says the CEO of E.V. Electra, a startup founded four years ago. EV Electra is the first EV electric automotive manufacturer in Lebanon and the Arab World with more than 300 local employees. The company started as a division of Jihad Mohammad Investment to become an independent entity based in Lebanon with offices in Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, and Norway with a global presence vision. What about the design… "We looked at the market for electric vehicles and found they are either very expensive or not very visually appealing to customers. In order to increase customer interest in electric vehicles, we decided to design and build a car that is in the supercar category and yet affordable for customers with a medium budget", says J. Mohammad.
Quds Rise is a coupé model with a battery capacity of 45kWh. It has a maximum speed of 180 kilometers per hour, a maximum horsepower of 180 HP, and a maximum motor power of 120 kWh. The car has fiberglass body panels bolted on light alloy chassis. It is equipped with a built-in charger and a universal plug compatible with all charging stations.
What about the rumors about the design of the car being stolen from MPM Motors, this is what Igor Paramonov, the founder of MPM, has to say: "We collaborated 1 year ago on the Quds Capital. We produced the first prototype for Mohammad which was built on our platform and integrated his design. Since then we had zero involvement with Mohammad and Elektra EV. The new model QUDS Rise is not something MPM has."
"We strive to craft new electric vehicles that meet and exceed our customers’ expectations."
Lebanon has a dying electricity grid, plagued by daily power cuts since the end of the civil war in 1990, where residents are forced to rely on private generators during blackouts that can last more than 20 hours a day. To face this daunting challenge, the hundred or so recharging stations that Mr. Mohammad plans to install throughout the country will be connected to private generators and may eventually be powered by solar and wind energy. The cost of the car? 30,000 dollars. But because of the economic crisis and the dizzying decline in the purchasing power of the Lebanese people, EV Electra, is offering two payments alternatives: 50% cash and 50% cheque banker, or 50% cash and the rest of the amount in monethly payments (975000 LBP) over five years "with 0% interest", according to Mr. Mohammad. He aims to sell 10,000 Quds Rise cars around the world in the first year, and 1 million cars globally by the end of 2022. Fingers crossed. As for the future of EV Electra, the company was made public in Switzerland by EY Global. It is in the process of launching a Blockchain Initial Public Offering for ten percent of its capital.
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