DUBAI — As part of its commitment to bringing a future of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion globally and across the Middle East, President and Managing Director of General Motors Africa and Middle East, John Roth, and Head of Future Mobility, Gary D. West joined the Virginia Tech team at the Solar Decathlon Middle East competition basecamp to discuss changing needs in sustainable housing and mobility, as well as smart technologies best practice.

As the Official Mobility Partner of the Solar Decathlon Middle East and continuing its work to raise awareness of alternative propulsion, General Motors (GM) has provided 15 Chevrolet Bolt EVs to the competition. The electric vehicles (EV) allow each of the diverse teams, representing 11 countries and 28 universities, to integrate EV charging into the sustainable housing solutions that must be compatible with the weather conditions in the region.

Visiting the Virginia Tech team’s FutureHaus sustainable home concept, John Roth and Gary D West toured the various innovations to gain a better insight into the thinking behind the project. The tour was led by a student designer and joined by Professor Joseph Wheeler from Virginia Tech.

Following the tour, John Roth and Gary D West discussed current trends in technology and mobility as well as a closer look at the work GM is focused on to create a future of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion. The group also discussed disruption to traditional ideas of design, manufacturing and mobility, while Roth highlighted the links between the Virginia Tech team’s approach and GM’s own culture of innovation and thinking people-first.

Commenting on the visit, John Roth said: “The team at Virgina Tech have done a stellar job in designing a not just sustainable, but adaptable FutureHaus. At GM we have a culture of constant innovation, which is aligned with Virginia Tech’s efforts to create a ground-breaking house of the future for Solar Decathlon.

“To complement the cutting-edge design found across the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar Park, we provided our zero emissions Chevrolet Bolt EVs. With sustainability at its heart, the Bolt EV is one more step on the road toward a cleaner, brighter future, and we look forward to seeing how all the teams combine its design and range to showcase the next ideas that will move humanity forward.”

The Solar Decathlon is introduced to the region by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to help further His Royal Highness’ Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of a green, sustainable future. The Solar Decathlon is organized by DEWA in partnership with Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the US Department of Energy for the first time in the Middle East and Africa. Fifteen teams, representing 28 universities from 11 countries around the world are taking part in the competition.