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Morocco and Atlas E-Mobility Group Will Launch the First 100% African-designed Electric Car

The numbers don’t lie. Morocco’s automotive industry is growing by leaps and bounds, increasing its exports by 44.8% compared to last year. The government’s support for this sector has an increasingly large share of the annual budget. If we add to this the various subsidies and investments of the Kingdom in companies such as Nam X, Neo Motors or Atlas E-Mobility Group, we are left with the financial capacity of the automotive sector in Morocco pointing to the global top of vehicle production.

Factories such as Stellantis make it possible for Moroccan annual vehicle production to reach figures close to one million vehicles. Moreover, in 2022, the Kingdom exported Moroccan-made cars to 74 countries.

PHOTO/MAP - Presentación a el Rey Mohamed VI de la primera marca marroquí de automóviles de consumo y del prototipo de un vehículo de hidrógeno de iniciativa marroquí
PHOTO/MAP – Presentation to King Mohammed VI of the first Moroccan consumer car brand and the prototype of a Moroccan-initiated hydrogen vehicle

Moroccan-British technology company Atlas E-Mobility Group announced that it will unveil the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) designed and manufactured in Africa with the aim of revolutionising cost-effective, zero-emission mobility of the future. The London-based company intends to build state-of-the-art manufacturing and development facilities in Morocco, which is known as “one of the world’s fastest growing automotive hubs,” according to the press release.

The company founded in 2021 aims to leverage a distinctive fusion of British automotive industrialisation expertise, revolutionary Moroccan technology and established manufacturing capability. Atlas hopes to create a superior engineered and reasonably priced all-electric vehicle inspired by Moroccan design and identity by utilising these advantages. The company intends to begin manufacturing in 2026, initially targeting consumers in the European, Middle East and African (EMEA) markets.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - El rey Mohammed VI en la inauguración de la planta de PSA en Kenitra
PHOTO/ARCHIVO – King Mohammed VI at the inauguration of the PSA plant in Kenitra

For other Arab nations to build strong automotive industries, the Arab Parliament has urged Morocco to share its experience and expertise in the automotive sector with them. In a meeting, chaired by Adel bin Abdurrahman al-Assoomi, speaker of the Arab Parliament, between the Arab Parliament itself, and Morocco’s House of Councillors, the upper house of the Kingdom’s legislature, on Tuesday, members of the Arab Parliament’s committee in charge of scientific research, innovation and digital made the call.

The meeting was attended by Ryad Mezzour, Moroccan Minister of Trade and Industry, who recalled that the Arab nation has the capacity to produce 2 million cars annually. According to him, Morocco has adopted a strong and crucial strategy for car production, in which the Kingdom is currently only behind the two giants of the global industry: China and India. As a result of the new strategy and the expertise of Moroccan technicians, Mezzour also informed Arab parliamentarians that the Kingdom’s industrial integration rate has increased to 69%. The industrial sector, which contributes around 25 per cent of Morocco’s GDP, will export manufactured goods worth 111 billion dirhams ($11 billion).

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Un empleado de la fábrica trabaja en una línea de montaje de automóviles en la planta de montaje de automóviles Renault-Nissan Tánger en Melloussa, al este de la ciudad portuaria de Tánger
AFP/FADEL SENNA – A factory employee works on a car assembly line at the Renault-Nissan Tangier car assembly plant in Melloussa, east of the port city of Tangier

Africa is “being ignored by business”, according to Mohamed Yehya El Bakkali, co-founder and CEO of Atlas, when it comes to the switch to electric vehicles. “No one should underestimate the continent’s determination to move forward or have doubts about its ability to produce world-leading carbon-free technology solutions,” he said.

To keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, he also emphasised the critical role Africa can play in the transport sector. El Bakkali says the purpose of creating Atlas was to capitalise on Morocco’s entrepreneurial spirit, cutting-edge technology and history in the automotive manufacturing industry.

He emphasised that his business would build a car that “delivers economic, environmental and social value to Africa and beyond, while meeting the quality, design and feature expectations of global customers”.

“We try to use the most cost-effective strategy while doing an initial assembly of what is already available,” he added. “Electricity is the second largest expense in electric vehicle manufacturing. In some markets, electricity is also very expensive, but in Morocco, about 50% of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources. As a result, Morocco has already mastered the use of renewable energy, which will reduce the cost of electricity needed to operate the factory and other facilities. Another benefit is the total affordability and accessibility of the supply chain to raw materials. We want to take advantage of that,”he concluded.

PHOTO/MAP - Su Majestad el Rey Mohammed VI preside en el Palacio Real de Rabat una ceremonia de presentación de la primera marca marroquí de automóviles
PHOTO/MAP – His Majesty King Mohammed VI presides over a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Rabat to launch the first Moroccan car brand

Atlas co-founder and CTO Mohamed Hicham Senhaji Hannoun acknowledged the scope and difficulty of Africa’s move away from fossil fuel-dependent mobility. He said that building an all-electric car alone would not be enough, but would represent the first building blocks.

Hannoun emphasised that Atlas wants to be part of a comprehensive solution that will benefit Africa and other regions in this regard through sustainable economic growth and environmental protection.In collaboration with our international partners, we will present a strategic roadmap to develop a wide range of cutting-edge technologies that improve range, battery capacity and charging infrastructure to make zero-emission mobility a realistic option for all.”

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Línea de montaje de automóviles en la planta de montaje de automóviles PSA de Kenitra
AFP/FADEL SENNA – Automobile assembly line at the PSA automobile assembly plant in Kenitra

It is a fact that automakers are looking for new locations for their factories where labour costs are lower and can support higher profit margins. The call from Eastern European nations is crucial because their governments are giving away thousands of square metres of land to companies at knock-down costs to build their facilities, with the only requirement being that employees come from the region.

Getting more manufacturers to move to Morocco is the country’s biggest challenge. Free trade with Europe is important, proximity to Europe via Spain for transporting new cars, labour is cheaper and red tape is as quick as it is non-existent. This is what manufacturers long for in order to expand their production networks, and where more and more brands are testing.

Source: Atalayar

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Abdelkader Achaari

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