We are delighted to present the Q&A session with Adam Ridgway, CEO of ONE MOTO. An award-winning electric mobility pioneer, Adam is dedicated to revolutionising how we move. Having successfully built and exited four companies, he's an expert in future mobility and sparking positive change.  In this session, he'll share his insights on Saudi Arabia's potential as a smart mobility leader, challenges in infrastructure, and the exciting innovations transforming transportation.

#GEMTECH: How do you see Saudi Arabia as a market for Future & Smart Mobility? What unique opportunities and potential does it present?

Adam Ridgway: The Kingdom has tremendous goals, some have speculated the audacity of the projects announced, with optimism. My team and I have been evaluating the KSA market for some time and we were invited to pioneer electric last mile delivery vehicles and motorcycles for several years. There is still a long way to go, but the foundations have been set by the vision, so yes it is going to happen.

To bolster this sentiment, the leadership has created an environment for automotive manufacturing and although the supply chain will take some time to build, this is pivotal for there to be a considered powerhouse for automotive manufacturing in the region, something of which doesn’t exist in other neighbouring countries.

Being a nascent market poses challenges, yet I see them as opportunities, the learnings of other countries offer a platform to not emulate the same mistakes, an optimal entry for smart and future mobility can be injected to the mobility ecosystem right, first time. No retrospective adjustments needed.

We believe Saudi Arabia is poised to become the benchmark for other countries to follow. If together we can create a sustainable last mile delivery network in the major cities, decarbonising last-mile delivery, this will be a global first and something ONE MOTO and the KSA leadership will be very proud to have initiated.

#GEMTECH: Saudi Arabia has ambitious EV goals. What crucial infrastructure developments and policy changes are needed to make those goals a reality?

Adam Ridgway: The learnings from other countries demonstrates a balance is needed, a synchronised rollout plan to support the private consumers commitment to EVs, uptake for the delivery, logistics and commerce deliveries and the infrastructure needed through charging availability and operational uptime.

I personally do not believe in investing billions into a network of charging stations, although the counter argument is that it is needed. The vision should be the tech of tomorrow, we have a solution for this and have been working on it for sometime. The rollout will be determined on the government support and PPP, we are in talks to provide the future of charging in various countries in the GCC and welcome the conversation with The Kingdom.

Incentives are always a great way to catalyse the uptake in EV adoption, a mid-term strategy but very valuable, however, once again balance needs to be addressed, if the demand spikes are the OEMs and dealers going to have suitable access to supply? We’ve seen these issues in other regional markets. In addition, a consideration must be placed on the retail prices. EVs in the UAE (for example) are a considerable multiple of the prices in other markets. Failure to address this leads to grey market imports and a weak demand - this will depend on the strategy and which EV OEMs are wanted in The Kingdom.

Mobility should be accessible and affordable for all.

#GEMTECH: Can Saudi Arabia leverage its abundant solar resources to create an innovative and sustainable EV charging network?

Adam Ridgway: In short, Yes it is possible. I’m not familiar with the solar infrastructure in KSA (locations of plants, policy around reselling electricity etc), the technology is available, the capital for long-term projects and ROI is available, therefore yes it is possible. Operationally, the rudimentary considerations of maintenance is something to consider, which will certainly open up a new market opportunity.

#GEMTECH: With scorching temperatures in the Middle Eastern Countries, are drones and autonomous delivery vehicles the answer to last-mile challenges?

Adam Ridgway: With new forms of mobility, finding the value is essential. “Is it needed or nice to have?” Technology certainly can improve the efficiencies of our lives, yet are all new modal forms required? Do we need deliveries in 10 minutes? Or is it nice to have? I believe it’s OK to regress, take stock of what is essential, efficient and effective. Just because the technology is available, doesn’t mean we have to implement it throughout every juncture of a value chain. Personally, drones are going to be great for emergency support and agriculture, remote deliveries of essential items. Yet are they required to deliver a pizza? I don’t believe the investment or technology is going to be beneficial for society or mankind.

Considering the statistics suggesting 80% of us will be living in urban environments by 2050, we have the opportunity to create a future-proof multi-modal mobility ecosystem. Then compounding the statistic that air pollution is humanity's greatest killer (5 million lives each year), we need to build the right foundations and in Saudi Arabia, we have the opportunity to.

Autonomous vehicles for personal mobility/commuting as an extension to public/private transport, absolutely, I endorse this. Yet robots to roam the streets to deliver consumer products, not at all.

Investment into the enablement of human mobility/movement in robotics I see tremendous value [to humanity] using tech to deliver a divine and (should be default) accessibility, this is a ‘mobility investment’ I see where tech improves lives.

#GEMTECH: How do events like the GEMTECH Forum accelerate knowledge transfer and adoption of best practices in Future & Smart Mobility?

Adam Ridgway: The beauty of events such as this, is layered. Leaders, decision makers and policy enablers - if present - will realise the possibilities presented by startups and established companies. They will understand innovation comes from these dreamers, and implementation comes from their facilitation to create opportunities (public sector/multinationals). The difficulty as a founder of a leading start up is the ability to present the narrative - there’s a lot more to our business, vision and strategy than the front facing business you see. Yet the government and large corporations can see start ups as a risk (completely agree), direct investment into these companies - small tickets against milestones - will empower and leverage the ambitions of the dreamers to carry on and bring their product or service to life.

Complimenting this sentiment, the strategy of Founders should never be “I need to raise capital to start, grow or continue”, maybe a different strategy is required? It most certainly is a solution and a mindset. I’ve found by attending these events, the learnings are great, however, there is very little action taken at the event, whereas to give esteem to the event, legitimate contract signing would deliver incredible value and optimism to all stakeholders.

Since launching ONE MOTO in 2020, we’ve expanded into 10 countries, won eight international awards, committed a transparent ESG pledge and events like this help us continue our roadmap to bring change, meet with key decision makers. One hopes this year’s edition of GEMTF will be a landmark event with many contracts being signed and changes being implemented for a better tomorrow.