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Identification of Potential Barriers to Electric Vehicle Adoption in Oil-Producing Nations—The Case of Saudi Arabia

Alotaibi, Saleh; Omer, Siddig; Su, Yuehong


Saleh Alotaibi

Professor of Thermal Science and Building Technology


Electric vehicles (EVs) are important elements in the global strategy to tackle climate change; however, research often fails to sufficiently identify the range of barriers which affect their adoption. Taking Saudi Arabia as a case study, this paper analyses responses from 698 potential drivers in order to identify and rank the infrastructure, performance, financial, social, and policy barriers to EV adoption in a major oil-producing nation with a hot climate and a desert terrain. According to this study’s findings, the most important barriers in this context are the lack of charging infrastructure and the additional load placed on the national grid, while others include the safety and effectiveness of batteries at high temperatures, and the ability of EVs to perform in desert conditions. Common themes also include concerns that EVs may damage Saudi’s oil-based economy, cost of purchase and maintenance, low resale value, and the absence of awareness about EVs. The study concludes that EV manufacturers must demonstrate that their vehicles are suitable for the Saudi climate. Governments should also provide subsidies, or other incentives, to promote adoption of EVs as the study also found that variations in the cost of different EV models in Saudi Arabia, for example, the Tesla Model 3, is up to 40% more expensive to own than a Toyota Camry, mean that owning EVs can cost significantly more than small sized internal combustion engine-based vehicles (ICEVs). This paper identifies and ranks the barriers to EV ownership in a desert nation which is a leading petroleum producer and compares the relative costs of EVs and ICEVs in the country. As such, it has immediate relevance in countries with similar economic, geographic, and climatic conditions.


Alotaibi, S., Omer, S., & Su, Y. (2022). Identification of Potential Barriers to Electric Vehicle Adoption in Oil-Producing Nations—The Case of Saudi Arabia. Electricity, 3(3), 365-395.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 8, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2022
Publication Date Aug 12, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 18, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2022
Journal Electricity
Print ISSN 2673-4826
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 365-395
Series Title the Special Issue Electromagnetic Compatibility in Power Systems and Smart Cities)
Keywords General Earth and Planetary Sciences; General Environmental Science
Public URL
Publisher URL


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