Dubai-based W Motors has laid the foundation stone for its W Motors Automotive Facility in Dubai Silicon Oasis. The automotive facility will be built at a cost of $100.7m and is expected to spread over 120,000sqft in Dubai Silicon Oasis.

The ground-breaking event, which saw Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) laying the foundation stone, was attended by Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, vice chairman and CEO of DSOA and Ralph R Debbas, W Motors founder & CEO.

The first phase of the project is set to be completed by 2020, following which the production of all W Motors vehicles will move to this location including the limited series Fenyr SuperSport, upcoming new vehicles, electric and autonomous models, as well as all vehicles under the company’s Special Projects Division.

“As Dubai continues to consolidate its position as an international testing ground for state-of-the-art technology, it is attracting foreign direct investments, international tech companies, promising start-ups, and innovative entrepreneurs from around the globe. As the comprehensive geo-economic map of the emirate is being developed by the Dubai Free Zones Council, in line with the ‘Fifty-Year Charter’ launched earlier this year by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which will accelerate the drive for further economic diversification and give it more momentum, free zones like Dubai Silicon Oasis continue to be the hub of choice for cutting-edge companies looking for advanced business ecosystems that provide full traction for launches and growth locally, regionally, and globally,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

According to a statement, Phase One of the project will be divided into three blocks. The Manufacturing Division will comprise a mechanical workshop, an assembly area, a “Concept & Prototype” manufacturing zone, and will feature the latest machines equipped with advanced smart technologies for the production of carbon fibre, aluminium and other parts.

The main headquarters building will include the design, engineering, research and development and training centres along with an autonomous and technology development department. The W Motors Gallery, which will showcase all the company’s models, will become a unique experiential space for visitors from all over the world, the statement said.

Dr Al Zarooni added, “Dubai Silicon Oasis offers businesses a unique ecosystem that allows them to leverage their strengths and benefit from Dubai’s role as a springboard for businesses seeking growth in the GCC which holds opportunities worth more than $1.5tn across all economic sectors. We look forward to welcoming W Motors to Dubai Silicon Oasis as a new and highly-anticipated addition to the automotive industry in Dubai and the UAE, especially considering that such an industry requires a long supply chain of products and services, which in turn can create an exciting set of trickle-down opportunities in autonomous driving technologies and related products and services.”

Phase Two of the project will comprise the W Motors Automotive Academy, that is said to have been developed in partnership with leading regional and international educational institutions. It will offer automotive design, engineering, transportation and AI-themed courses, in addition to certified programs catering to students and interns from all over the world.

Debbas explained, “Today is a momentous day for W Motors, and takes us a big step closer to vastly developing the automotive industry within the region – and specifically aligning with Dubai’s vision of becoming a global leader in innovation. We have worked closely with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority to bring our production facility to life; now the countdown to opening our doors is on!”