The EV charging network in Saudi Arabia

Public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in Saudi Arabia at present, are frankly few and far between. But that’s about to change; dramatically and quickly. As the country races towards its declared Vision 2030 with gathering momentum, significant investments are being made to develop a robust infrastructure for electric cars.

This transformation is evident from the growing network of charging stations across the country, in order to make EV ownership more practical and appealing. The nation’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has led to an accelerated push for electric vehicles.

Major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam are witnessing a surge in public charging stations to cater for increasing EV owners. To this end, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Electricity Co. have established the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company with a stated aim to install over 5,000 fast chargers in more than 1,000 locations by 2030.

Key Players in the Charging Network

As mentioned above, the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Co. works to ramp up the availability of public chargers and includes subsidiaries such as EVIQ which is installing fast chargers. 

However, other providers are also contributing to extending the charging network including Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company (AFEMC), which has issued ‘The Saudi Pledge,’ in which it states ambitions to establish 10% of the Kingdom’s charging stations by 2030.

There is also Electromin which is part of the Petromin Group and operates over 700 charging sites nationwide. Additionally, TotalEnergies and Altaaqa Alternative Solutions have signed an agreement to develop and install integrated EV charging stations.

In Saudi Arabia, charging stations typically range from Level 1 (standard AC outlets providing slow charging, ideal for overnight use); Level 2 (faster AC charging usually found at malls, offices, and residential complexes); and Level 3 which are DC fast charging stations located along highways and in commercial areas.

There will be more than 1,000 charging stations across Saudi Arabia by 2030.

How to find Charging Stations

There are several apps and websites for EV owners in Saudi Arabia, that provide real-time information on the location, type, and availability of charging stations. These platforms include PlugShare and Electromaps as well as the official apps from charging network providers.

Be sure to download these onto your smartphones. Platforms like PlugShare allow users to share their experiences, which can provide valuable insights into the reliability and quality of the charging stations.

While you’re planning a journey, check ahead to identify where you will charge your EV, and ensure the charging station is compatible with your vehicle. Most stations in Saudi Arabia offer a variety of connectors, but it’s prudent to verify beforehand to avoid any inconvenience.

If you’re doing longer trips, seek out the Level 3 fast-charging stations, while Level 2 stations are suitable for shopping or for topping up during work hours.

Many charging stations in Saudi Arabia are located near facilities like cafes, shopping centres, and rest areas. As you may be there for a while, opt for stations near such amenities to make your stop more comfortable.

Expect Rapid Growth in the Charging Network

With the Saudi government’s commitment to eco-conscious and low-pollution road transport policies, expect sustained and significant rapid investment in the EV infrastructure aided further by the private sector’s growing involvement. The number of charging stations is set to increase dramatically, and charging network accessibility and facilities will improve and expand exponentially in the coming months and years.

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18 Feb, 2024