People in Qatar are currently driving huge SUVs, premium sportscars and stretched sedans run by 12-cylinder engines, but that could change, as the country's government wants consumers to opt for eco-friendly vehicles. This is one of the challenges facing a nation determined to be an even bigger participant in the automotive industry.
Qatar is considered the richest nation in the world based on 2010 gross domestic product per capita data. The Middle East Automotive Summit was held this week, kicking off the 2012 Qatar vehicle show.
One of the many topics discussed was how to respond to a worldwide population that is increasing, ageing and becoming more urban. It has been forecasted that there will be 9.2 billion people in the world by 2050, an increase from around 7 billion today and 8 billion by 2030. The number of vehicles on the streets is estimated to rise from 700 million to 3 billion by 2050. This means that there will be lots of traffic congestion and emissions depending on the type of vehicle that people will be driving.
The speakers in the summit have the same opinion that lightweight materials and megacities will play vital roles in the future. Megacities will lead decision-making on the best use of energy, mobility and water.
Ahmed M. Sorour, CEO of the Qatar Automotive Gateway, shared that lightweight materials are turning to be an imperative for the transportation sector in order to lessen CO2 emissions. His company wants Qatar to be an automotive industrial center by 2020. A step in reaching that dream came this week when Porsche and Volkswagen revealed that they will build a joint test facility for lightweight materials at the Qatar Science & Technology Park in Doha, which is the nation's capital city. [source: Autonews]