Quds Rise: Lebanon launches first electric car despite crisis


The sports car is emblazoned at the front with a golden logo of the Dome of the Rock

A Lebanon-made electric car made its debut, the first time the Mediterranean country has manufactured an automobile, despite struggling amid a dire economic crisis with frequent power cuts. The red sports car – named “Quds Rise”, using the Arabic name of Jerusalem – is the project of Lebanese-born Palestinian businessman Jihad Mohammad. It’s the “first automobile to be made locally,” Mohammad told reporters, at the unveiling in a parking lot south of Beirut.

Lebanese-born Palestinian businessman Jihad Mohammad arrives in the “Quds Rise”, the first-ever electric car produced in Lebanon, during an unveiling ceremony in Khaldeh, south of the capital Beirut.

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. Above, a model leans on the “Quds Rise”, the first-ever electric car produced in Lebanon.

The car is to cost $30,000. Production of up to 10,000 vehicles is hoped to start later this year in Lebanon, with cars to hit the market in a year’s time, said Mohammad, the director of Lebanon-based firm EV Electra.

Palestinian members of the Al-Quds association flash the victory sign as they pose by the “Quds Rise”, the first ever electric car produced in Lebanon.

Mohammad, 50, said he set up the company four years ago after years abroad, employing Lebanese and Palestinian engineers among 300 members of staff. He says his long-term goal is to compete on the international market for hybrid and electric cars, as well as to make sales in Lebanon.

But the unveiling comes as Lebanon struggles amid its worst economic crisis in decades, and imported car sales are at a record low, in part due to capital controls and drastic devaluation on the black market.

Dealers sold just 62 new cars in the first two months of 2021, almost 97 percent less than the same period a year before, figures released by the Association of Automobile Importers in Lebanon showed. The economic crunch since late 2019 has plunged more than half the population into poverty.

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