Survey finds significant trend in Saudi Arabia’s EV landscape

Seven in ten residents of Saudi Arabia are "very" or "moderately" likely to purchase a battery-electric vehicle (BEV), a figure that is projected to rise to 85% by 2035.

Alessandro Missaglia, Partner & Managing Director, AlixPartners. Image: AlixPartners

This indicates significant growth potential for BEVs in the country over the coming years.

In China, the world’s largest automobile market, the “very” or “moderately” likely BEV-purchase intention is nearing totality while growth in sentiment for pure BEVs stagnates at 35-43% in the USA and Europe. This is according to AlixPartners' 2024 International Electric Vehicle Consumer-Sentiment Survey, released by the global consulting firm AlixPartners.

While costs and charging are the primary concerns globally in the survey when it comes to choosing a BEV, respondents in Saudi Arabia are less concerned with costs compared to other countries. Instead, they are more worried about safety, complexity, and aftermarket concerns. Charging flexibility and extended range are the main reasons for choosing a plug-in hybrid electric Vehicle (PHEV) over a BEV in the Kingdom, mirroring similar trends in the USA and Europe. Notably, 93% of those in Saudi Arabia who are “very” or “moderately likely” to consider a BEV are also “very” or “moderately likely” to choose a PHEV as their next vehicle purchase or lease.

Alessandro Missaglia, Partner & Managing Director, AlixPartners commented: “In Saudi Arabia, we're witnessing a parallel trend to the USA and Europe, where BEV-intentioned buyers are increasingly considering PHEVs as viable alternatives. This shift reflects consumers' desires to address immediate needs while mitigating charging and range concerns. As traditional automakers, suppliers, and dealers adapt to this transition, they face significant challenges in balancing present and future demands.”

AlixPartners’ survey also underscores a significant trend in Saudi Arabia’s EV landscape, where Chinese BEV manufacturers, following extensive refinement in their domestic market, are now poised for international expansion. Notably, Saudi consumers have the highest awareness of Chinese BEV brands, with 93% of those “very likely” and “moderately likely” to buy BEVs being aware of at least one Chinese brand. Among these brands, BYD leads in recognition. This contrasts with international figures, where 47-71% of potential BEV buyers are aware of one or more Chinese brands.

“Interestingly, our survey highlights a substantial awareness of Chinese BEV brands, in fact highest, in Saudi Arabia, which coincides with the high share of Chinese brands in the Kingdom (16%). However, the imminent production of Lucid and Ceer is poised to disrupt existing market dynamics. As a result, we anticipate a potential shift in brand awareness and consumer preferences, underscoring the need for agile strategies from both Chinese and local manufacturers to sustain their competitive advantage in Saudi Arabia's rapidly evolving EV landscape,” added Missaglia.