In the middle of the ancient oasis city of AlUla, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Insider’s Charlie Cooksey caught up with Omar Al-Zubaidi, the Head of Genesis Middle East and Africa. They spoke about the luxury car brand’s electrified GV60, GV70, and G80 launch at the opulent location.
Al-Zubaidi also shared his insights on the brand’s approach to electric vehicle infrastructure and its vision for the future.
Congratulations on launching three beautiful Genesis electric vehicles – the electrified GV60, GV70 and G80. While the GV70 and G80 have a similar uniform, what was the idea behind the difference in design with the GV60?
The GV60 is Genesis’ first dedicated EV platform, unlike the GV70 and G80 which were both transferred from ICE Engines to electrified platforms. Genesis has always steered in the direction of enabling its vehicles to transfer to EV platforms in the future. The GV70 and G80 were designed to make way for this shift from ICE Engines to EVs. The GV60 takes a different route and is available with EV exclusively; not with the ICE Engine.
Can you shed some light on the crystal sphere in the GV60?
Given that the EVs don’t produce any sound, we focused on how the customer would be indicated that the car was turned on and can move. That’s how the crystal sphere came in, serving the additional purpose of giving this first EV platform of Genesis a unique and distinct feature.
In your opinion, how are the governments and the automobile industry enhancing the infrastructure development for EVs?
From Genesis’ point of view, there isn’t much use in waiting for the answer to whether the chicken came first or the egg. While we’re sure that the governments are pushing towards sustainable energies and EVs, it’s up to us to develop the relevant infrastructure and features for our vehicles and improve the driving experience for our customers.
One such unique feature is the V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) service by Genesis that’s never been seen before. It’s a mobile vehicle service that will be introduced with the GV60, providing a way for customers to get immediate support in case of accidents, battery shortages or shutdowns.
What is your take on critiques suggesting that the Gulf Region is far behind Europe and North America in terms of EV infrastructure?
The infrastructure development is on the right track. However, the key difference between Europe, the USA, and the GCC is the climate. Given the temperatures in the GCC, we need additional development time to introduce chargers and an infrastructure that’s suitable for this region.
We’re already witnessing certain companies providing chargers that are suitable for the GCC, so I believe we’re on the right track towards building the infrastructure. Another point to note is that customers of Genesis will be provided with home boxes. On the other hand, governments are also pushing contractors to equip apartments with EV charging stations in the buildings making the infrastructure more accessible.
Why is Genesis placing a strong focus on developing the Middle East market for its products?
When I started Genesis Middle East and Africa, we were #5 worldwide. The region [Middle East] is now #2 after America in terms of the number of units sold and attention from the headquarters. So globally, Genesis Middle East is our #2 export market after America directly. This gives us the focus and attention to develop more in the Middle East market and deliver more to our customers.
Where would you say Genesis positions itself in the market now, concerning pricing and other brands?
As far as pricing is concerned, our vehicles are reasonable compared to most of our competition. Currently, we are part of the top five luxury brands, and we will keep growing in the region. We look forward to continue being the leader in the luxury EV market as well. For now, we’re maintaining the balance by ensuring the value of our brand not pushing our production too high.
What’s your favourite Genesis model and what do you drive in Dubai?
I drive both the GV80 and G90, but I like the GV80 more. The G90 is a sedan and a nice car to drive, but the noise cancellation is also high. The market, however, leans towards SUVs more, so that’s what makes the GV80 my preferred ride as well.