The UAE’s first dedicated EV conversion. Photo: Exterior
A Dubai-based electric vehicle (EV) startup, Fuse EV Conversions, is set to empower residents of a remote village in Yemen. The company specializes in electric powertrain solutions and has joined forces with the International Training Development Center (ITDC), a training center dedicated to helping Yemeni youth. Together, they aim to introduce environmentally friendly transportation to Yemen’s rural communities, emphasizing sustainable solutions for the region.
“We have been working on this project for several months,” said Fuse co-founder Salman Hussain. “It required us to go back to the drawing board and reimagine and rework everything we’ve done so far. After months of brainstorming, we’re finally at a stage where we can start field testing.”
The partnership also involves global non-profit organization LM International, which is in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities in more than 80 countries. In it, Fuse will retrofit existing vehicles, specifically the sixth-generation Toyota Hilux double cab, with an IoT-enabled smart powertrain kit. The vehicle is currently on display in the blue zone at COP28.
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“Our shared vision of a sustainable and economically viable transportation solution for Yemen’s villages is finally becoming a reality,” said Mihai Stumbea, Chief Technology Officer at FUSE. “By converting existing vehicles, we not only address immediate mobility needs, but also pave the way to a greener future.”
LM International and ITDC collaborated to build a solar panel field to supply power to remote villages. The energy produced by these panels was used to power pumps that provided them with water. “However, much of the energy produced was not used,” Salman said. “That was when they approached us to build electric vehicle motors for the village vehicles. There was a severe fuel shortage in the village, and this had impacted the lives of the villagers.”
For Fuse, which was founded in 2022, this represented a mammoth task. “We had to design the motors in such a way that anyone could easily install them,” Salman said. “In addition, it had to fit perfectly to the chosen vehicle and should not require drilling or complicated work.”
It took the team months of brainstorming and work to finally develop a product. “We had to color code everything,” Mihai said. “And this is extremely difficult when we have 32 32-pin battery connectors. Then we recorded a video tutorial. This will allow anyone to install the motor in just four or five hours.”
According to Lee Pitts, project coordinator at LM International, the choice of the Toyota Hilux was made after intense study. “Our partners spoke to hundreds of villagers,” he said. “The intention was to make it easier for them to carry out multiple activities. The most common car was something like a Landcruiser. However, you couldn’t transport people from one place to another or buy things in the market with it.”
Ultimately, the Hilux was chosen because it could transport both people and goods. “On the Hilux, there was the option to choose between single and double cab models,” Lee said. “The single cab has a single row of seats, which requires the driver and passengers to sit together. However, during field research, our partners discovered that women in villages do not sit next to the driver. So if we choose the “Single cabin model it would create problems for thousands of women in the market. “That’s why a Hilux double cab was selected and we designed the EV motor for it.”
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