Dubai: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai has endorsed a contract for procuring 554 environment-friendly hybrid vehicles fitted with a combination of fuel engines and electric motors.
The move is part of a masterplan to curb the pollution from vehicle exhausts and make vehicles friendly to the environment of Dubai.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General of the RTA, said: “This step has been taken in implementation of the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for adopting power-efficient solutions with a positive bearing on humans and development projects of all sorts. The directives call for nurturing a safe, clean, attractive and sustainable environment capable of enhancing the image and profile of Dubai. The step illustrates RTA’s commitment to the Master Plan calling for curbing carbon emissions from the taxi sector by two per cent, as required by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the Green Economy initiative.”
The hybrid vehicles currently constitute about 11 per cent of the fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC). By the end of the year, the DTC aims to increase the proportion of hybrid vehicles to 17 per cent of its taxi fleet, which currently comprises 503 vehicles.
Al Tayer added that the RTA is “the first government entity in the region to experiment the operation of hybrid taxicabs fitted with electric-fuel engines in Dubai taxi from 2008 to 2011. Results of the experiment revealed that such vehicles had covered 550,000 kilometres without faults or requiring maintenance of major parts. Fuel efficiency reached 30 per cent and carbon emission dropped by 30 per cent as well.”
The RTA had endorsed a plan for converting 50 per cent of Dubai taxi cabs into hybrid vehicles by 2021. The plan anticipated a rise in the number of hybrid vehicles in Dubai from 147 in 2015 to 791 in 2016, and a further jump to 1,582 vehicles by 2017. It forecasts an increase in the number of hybrid taxis to 2,375 vehicles by 2018, then to 3,167 vehicles by 2019, and continued growth to reach 3,959 vehicles by 2020, and rise to as much as 4,750 vehicles by 2021.
The DTC is set to have the largest share of hybrid taxis in Dubai, totalling 2,280 vehicles, followed by CARS (900 vehicles), National Taxi (812 vehicles), Arabia Taxi (463 vehicles), Metro Taxi (377 vehicles), and City Taxi (18 vehicles).