green machine

Egypt bets on clean tech cars, in deal with China’s Dongfeng

By Sherif Tarek

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Posted on April 29, 2021 16:51

A worker fills the tank of a car at a CO-OP petrol station in Cairo
A worker fills the tank of a car at a CO-OP petrol station in Cairo, Egypt, April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

With the Zohr gas field coming onstream, and Egyptians furious about the recent hike in prices at the pump, a scheme to convert cars from petrol to compressed natural gas has taken on fresh impetus. Given the new ‘E70’ electric car will soon be ‘Made In Egypt’ — with the state-run El Nasr factory partnering with China’s Dongfeng Auto — the country will soon be able to boast of genuine green alternatives for travel.

Many are touting gas as the ‘amphibian fuel’ that will help transition from oil-based fuels to green energy.

But for some countries, there is also a more pressing reason – the cost.

Since 2016 to 2020, the North African country has been working on reducing its gasoline and diesel imports by 65%, according to official data. Gasoline remains the fuel of choice for car owners, while diesel, locally known as ‘solar’ is mostly used by trucks and buses.

Egypt hopes to close the gap on the estimated $1.5bn worth of imported fuel for 2020, by becoming self-sufficient within two years. Doing so would further narrow its trade balance deficit, which plunged 9% year on year to $42bn last year, amid the global pandemic-induced restrictions on imports and exports.

Loose plan-of-action

To begin with, Egypt has been boosting its refinery capacity — the largest in Africa — having increased its domestic

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