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Lebanese invent new energy car to cope with energy crisis

Lebanese industrialist Hisham Houssami stands in front of his hybrid car in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

A Lebanese industrialist has managed to produce a hybrid car powered by electricity or solar power, to counter the rising cost of transportation amid a shortage of gas supply in Lebanon.

by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese industrialists are trying to produce their own alternative fuel vehicles amid the country's severe energy crunch. Hisham Houssami is one of them.

Named "Lira," the name of the Lebanese currency, the hybrid car designed by Houssami, who was originally a manufacturer of industrial equipment, can be charged with electricity or via solar panels.

The idea of designing and making his own car came to the 46-year-old man as he witnessed the difficulty of Lebanese in securing fuel for their cars amid the energy shortages as a result of the financial crisis.

Lebanese industrialist Hisham Houssami is seen sitting inside his hybrid car in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

"It's a shame that the Lebanese can barely afford gasoline, and it's even more painful to see people suffering to access the commodity every now and then," Houssami said.

In Lebanon, 20 liters of gasoline could cost about 800,000 Lebanese pounds (about 20 U.S. dollars).

Houssami said he currently has a team of 7 to 10 regular workers working on the new car while he supervises the production process.

A mechanic works on a hybrid car made by Lebanese industrialist Hisham Houssami, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

"Unfortunately, we do not have car engineers in Lebanon, but my experience in producing industrial equipment makes this job possible for me," Houssami said.

The industrialist planned to launch the EV this year during Christmas and New Year seasons at less than 10,000 U.S. dollars.

Houssami has already placed several ads on social media channels asking for more people to join his new car factory.

Workers are assembling a hybrid car made by Lebanese industrialist Hisham Houssami, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

Houssami noted that Lebanon has very skilled human resources, and he wants to provide a chance for young graduates to work in Lebanon instead of leaving the country for job opportunities.

He told Xinhua that there could be a huge potential demand for new energy cars from countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Lebanon.

"Today, the fuel crisis is international. So when I produce a high-quality car, I expect good demand from other countries as well," he said.