DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The unexpected rift between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within OPEC in early July came as a shock to many in the Gulf region and those watching from abroad.
The dispute over oil production levels temporarily froze the group’s ability to lay out their plans for the markets, sending crude prices upward. But it wasn’t the first appearance of tension between the Arab neighbors and longtime close allies, and likely will not be the last, experts who’ve long been watching the region say.
“What is happening here is these are the two biggest economies in the region, in the Arab world,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor in the UAE, told CNBC. “And as Saudi Arabia wants to reform its economy, privatize, etc, there is bound to be competition between them.”
“Competition between the two biggest Arab economies is, I think, just starting,” Abdulla said. “And it is bound to intensify in the days to come.”
The strategic alignment between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, both of which have become increasingly active on the world stage, is evident in many areas. And it’s often associated with what is said to be a close relationship — some have even called it a “bromance” — between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed.
But conflicting interests have cropped up in recent months that preceded the OPEC rift. In February, Saudi Arabia announced that its government would cease doing business with any international companies whose regional headquarters were not based within the kingdom by 2024. The move was widely seen as targeting Dubai, the Middle East’s current headquarters hub.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The UAE last year announced a normalization deal with Israel, becoming the first Gulf country to do so, while Saudi Arabia has so far publicly refused to do the same. Saudi Arabia meanwhile has been working on a tentative rapprochement with rival Sunni power Turkey, with which the UAE has significant tensions as Ankara supports an Islamist ideology that Emirati leaders see as a threat.
And the two Gulf powers had some diverging interests in the war in Yemen, despite being on the same side, with the Saudis supporting an Islamist party distrusted by the UAE and Abu Dhabi supporting separatist tribes that did not align with Riyadh’s goals. The UAE drew down its military activity in Yemen in 2019, while Riyadh remains embroiled in the conflict.
“It has been a common assumption that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have effectively indistinguishable worldviews and interests — that the UAE is sort of an appendage or dependency of Saudi Arabia,” Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, wrote in a blog post in July. “That has never been the case.”
In early July, Saudi Arabia upped the ante by ending preferential tariffs for goods made in free zones or affiliated with Israeli manufacturers, also seen as a direct shot at the UAE, which is the free zone hub of the region. The move was followed by waves of patriotic Saudis launching a campaign via Twitter to boycott Emirati goods.
This came despite the fact that the UAE is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner after China by import value.
“The idea once was to create a GCC market, but now there’s the realization that the priorities of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are very different,” Amir Khan, senior economist at Saudi National Bank, told Reuters in July. “This regulation is putting flesh on the bone of these political divergences,” Khan said.
So, where do things go from here?
An OPEC deal was reached in mid-July, and the Saudi and Emirati energy ministers praised each other and the work of the group of oil producers. Still, economic competition — at a time where returns for oil-producing nations are extremely volatile — isn’t set to go away anytime soon.
“We’re coming out of this pandemic where every country in the world needs to figure out a way to economically recover,” Tobias Borck, a research fellow specializing in Gulf affairs at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told CNBC. “But for the Gulf monarchies, especially for Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, that is compounded by the fact that they are also under pressure to figure out a way to transform their economies and get away from relying on oil.”
“In that environment, quite frankly, everyone is going to look after number one,” Borck continued. “And for all the genuine friendship and continued pragmatic alignment, when it comes to economic matters, at some point that friendship ends and it becomes about looking after yourself.”
A ‘collision course’
For the Emirati professor Abdulla, “rivalry is too strong of a term” to describe what’s going on between the two countries.
“It could be a controlled, managed, friendly competition,” he told CNBC. “Or it could get out of hand, and we will see it intensify in the months and years to come. We are still in the first five minutes of the competition. We don’t know how it is going to evolve — and it might have some impact on the political issues that bind the two countries together, some political spillover.”
“There are clearly multiple areas where they are on a collision course in the economic sphere,” Borck said. “You’ve now sort of put your position out, and at the moment, those positions are on a collision course. Whether they’re going to remain so? We’ll see.”
This ultra-fast compact EV charger has an integrated battery – and it’s coming to the US
ChargePost is an all-in-one design that integrates the battery, electronics, cooling system, and charger in a compact container that ADS-TEC Energy says requires less than 21.5 square feet (2 sq m) of ground space.
Each ChargePost, which is 100% made in Germany, is equipped with two charging points that give drivers up to 300 kW DC power with one charging point and 150 kW with two charging points in use at the same time. It has a configurable 143 or 201 kWh battery capacity. Battery modules can be swapped out as needed, which increases the charger’s longevity. ADS-TEC says it only takes five minutes of charging at ChargePost for more than a 100 km (62-mile) drive.
The integrated charging cable with uncooled CCS1/CCS2 connector is at least 3 meters long. It has a 10-inch touchscreen interface and an “easy-to-use” payment terminal.
From the first half of 2023, ChargePost will be capable of feeding stored energy back into the grid, and it can also be paired with solar.
DS-TEC says that ChargePost can be set up quickly with a forklift and that its instillation is plug-and-play. Because it’s battery-based, it can connect directly to any existing, power-limited, low-voltage grid. That means it can be installed in a variety of locations, including inner cities and rural areas where high-voltage grids often aren’t available.
ChargePost is on the market now in Europe, and it’s expected to be launch in the United States in 2023.
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Canoo (GOEV) delivers EV pickup for US Army use – which makes sense
EV maker Canoo (GOEV) is on a mission to provide electric vehicles for multiple uses with its flexible Multi-Purpose Platform. Canoo announced today it has officially delivered its Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) EV based on the platform to the US Army.
Meanwhile, the military implementing electric vehicles can do more than protect the planet from climate change.
Founded in 2017, Canoo has overcome several hurdles in bringing its “use case” EV platform to market.
With nearly $1 billion in investments and over 250 patents, Canoo’s Multi-Purpose Platform was born. Despite the technological advancements, Canoo was running out of funds, expressing “substantial doubt” in its ability to continue operations.
Canoo quickly secured a purchase agreement with Walmart to provide at least 4,500 EVs in exchange for exercisable warranted shares, giving the company a lifeline.
The company’s “Made in America” approach has positioned it well to benefit from the incentives provided by the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. After choosing a 630,000-square-foot facility in Oklahoma City, Canoo says it’s ready to begin commercial production.
The company’s Multi-Purpose Platform is finding plenty of “use cases” outside of the typical commercial customers.
NASA recently chose Canoo’s proprietary EV platform to transport crew members to the Artemis launch pad. Yet the EV makers platform is capable of more than just transporting from point A to B, as the US Army has given Canoo another opportunity to showcase its technology.
Canoo supplying electric vehicles for the US Army
In July 2022, the US Army tapped Canoo to supply an EV for analysis and demonstration. The partnership comes after the US Army released a new climate strategy in February, including implementing electric vehicles to lower climate emissions.
The American EV maker announced today it has successfully delivered its Light Tactical Vehicle to the US Army, fulfilling its initial contract terms. CEO Tony Aquila commented on the achievement, saying:
The LTV is another milestone proving the power of our technology and how it can be used, even in tactical situations.
Canoo’s LTV comes loaded with an all-wheel drive system delivering up to 600 hp. To support off-road driving, the LTV features a raised suspension, air-springs, and 32-inch all-terrain tires.
Many are wondering – can electric vehicles make a difference?
How the US Military can benefit from deploying electric vehicles
Canoo isn’t the only automaker supplying electric vehicle technology for military use. GM Defense, the advanced defense mobility innovation unit of General Motors, was selected by the Defense Innovation Unit (DUI) to develop a battery pack that can power functional electric military vehicles.
The DIU is a unit of the Department of Defense specializing in “strengthening our national security by accelerating the adoption of leading commercial technology throughout the military.”
Electric vehicles offer benefits over their gas-powered peers. They’re stealthier, more powerful, and have technologically advanced options.
A recent post from the Modern War Institute at West Point highlights the US Military’s need “to take advantage of this electrification trend and follow fast in adopting the best new technologies,” offering insights into the case for electric military vehicles.
- The US Military is the largest institutional consumer of petroleum fuels globally, using up to 4.2 billion gallons of fuel annually.
- Over $9 billion was spent on fuel by the Defense Logistics Agency in 2019 (they pay a premium).
- The price of delivering fuel to remote operations can be as much as $1,000 per gallon.
- Fuel convoys are especially vulnerable to attacks. Between 2003 and 2007, one in eight casualties in Iraq were due to protecting the convoys.
We are seeing examples of how electric vehicles are already winning out over their gas-powered counterparts in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Russian military vehicles sat in a 40-mile-long convoy after a fuel logistics mishap.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian snipers used tactical electric bikes to silently sneak into their target area, engage the enemy, and quickly flee before being spotted.
The examples show electric vehicles may prove to be more beneficial in the military than many assume. EVs can save the military money on maintenance and fuel costs while providing silent, rapid transportation.
Perhaps, more importantly, it will reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, which can be used to start or prolong a war.
Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates
Tesla is holding its “Tesla Semi Delivery Event” today at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) to deliver the first electric truck to customers. The company is also expected to have a presentation about the production version of the truck.
Here’s our news hub for the event, where you can watch the livestream and get updates.
Three years late, but it is now here. Tesla is going to deliver the first production version of the Tesla Semi electric truck to customers – to PepsiCo, to be more specific.
The Tesla Semi was first unveiled in 2017, and it was supposed to enter production in 2020, but it was delayed several times.
Now the automaker is finally ready to make the first deliveries after having started low-volume production at a facility outside of Gigafactory Nevada in October.
Today, Tesla is expected to deliver the first few units to Pepsi. After the launch of Tesla Semi in 2017, PepsiCo placed one of the biggest orders for Tesla Semi – 100 electric trucks to add to its fleet. The company planned to use 15 of those trucks for a project to turn its Frito-Lay Modesto, California, site into a zero-emission facility. Last year, PepsiCo said that it expected to take deliveries of those 15 Tesla Semi trucks by the end of the year before it was delayed again.
On top of the first deliveries, Tesla is expected to give an update on the specs and pricing of the electric truck, which are expected to be updated from the original 2017 unveiling.
Those are the base expectations for the event, but there could also be a few surprises since Tesla used the original Tesla Semi unveiling for a surprise unveiling of the Tesla Roaster.
We never know.
Tesla Semi Delivery Event livestream
Here we are going to share posts based on the most important news coming out of the Tesla Semi Delivery Event:
Refresh the page to get the latest information.
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