DUBAI, The Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, has endorsed an initiative to transform 90 percent of limousines operating in Dubai into environmental-friendly vehicles, hybrid/electric, by 2026.

The initiative is the first of its kind worldwide in the semi-total conversion of the limousine fleet into green vehicles.

According to the plan, which runs for seven years, 65 percent of the Dubai limousine fleet will be hybrid vehicles and 25 percent electric vehicles. The plan envisages building up the ratio of green limousines gradually from the current six percent to 10 percent by 2020, and double up to 20 percent in 2021. The proportion of environmental-friendly vehicles will pick up to 30 percent by 2022, and the momentum will continue annually afterwards to reach 40 percent in 2023, 55 in 2024, 70 in 2025 until it hits the targeted rate of 90 percent in 2026.

"This initiative is implemented under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to save power consumption in the UAE, which is crucial for environmental sustainability and development projects with its various components. It also fosters a safe, clean and sustainable environment that will leverage the profile of Dubai. In addition, it contributes to the Dubai Government initiative to introduce green vehicles for a cleaner environment," said Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.

Al Tayer stated, "The step is part of a master plan to curb carbon emissions of taxis and limos by two percent as required by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the Green Economy drive. It also comes in the aftermath of fuel deregulation policy and the low cost of electric/hybrid vehicles life span compared with fuel-powered vehicles.

"Nearly 6,500 limos are operated in Dubai by 100 companies or more. Each vehicle travels about 400 km per day, which translates into the production of 44 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

"RTA studies on the use of electric/hybrid vehicles showed that financial savings of using electric vehicles amount to AED20,000 over the life cycle of each vehicle. Hybrid vehicles make a saving of AED30,000. From an environmental perspective, electric vehicles do not have any harmful emissions, while the use of hybrid vehicles cuts emissions by 40 percent.

"In the context of its support to green mobility, RTA is offering a 25 percent discount on the monthly franchise fees on electric vehicles throughout the first year. It will also permit electric vehicles to use bus-dedicated lanes, in addition to increasing electric vehicles life span to two years more than fuel-powered vehicles," Al Tayer added.

RTA has endorsed a plan to transform 50 percent of Dubai taxi fleet into hybrid vehicles by 2021. Accordingly, the number of hybrid taxis is set to rise from 791 vehicles in 2016 to 4750 vehicles by 2021. The Dubai Taxi Corporation accounts for the largest share of hybrid vehicles as it currently operates 2280 of these vehicles. Hybrid vehicles currently make up 28 percent of the total taxi fleet in Dubai.

Source: Emirates News Agency