Dubai is aiming to achieve sustainable mobility across all sectors of operation in the transport industry. Its latest endeavour is to see that as many as 90 percent of all limousines plying the roads should be eco-friendly by 2026.

The Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai has prepared a plan that will see 65 percent of the Emirate’s limousine fleet go hybrid while 25 percent will choose the EV path. The fleet also includes private taxis from firms such as Uber and Careem.

The current strength of green limousines plying Dubai roads stands at six percent.

Currently, the green fleet of limos stands at just six percent. RTA aims to lift the number up to 10 percent by 2020, doubling it to 20 percent in 2021. 2022 will see 30 percent of the limousine fleet going green, the momentum going strong into 2023 with eco-limos accounting for 40 percent of the fleet. Eventually, RTA aims to achieve a 90-10 split between green and conventional limousines respectively.

The vast majority of limousines plying Dubai roads today are Lexus ES, LS saloons and seven-seaters. These cars are often owned by firms, with drivers employed as subcontractors for Uber and Careem. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the board of executive directors at the RTA, said, “About 6,500 limos are operated in Dubai by 100 companies or more. Each vehicle travels about 400km per day, which translates into the production of 44 tons of carbon emissions per annum.

“RTA studies on the use of electric/hybrid vehicles showed that financial savings of using electric vehicles amount to $5,445 (AED20,000) over the life cycle of each vehicle. Hybrid vehicles make a saving of $8,167 (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.”

RTA Dubai intends to modernise limousine fleets of both private and public players, right from Careem and Uber to the Dubai Taxi Corporation.

Supporting sustainable urban mobility, RTA is offering a 25 percent discount on monthly franchise fees on EVs throughout the first year. Electric cars will also be permitted to use dedicated bus lanes. RTA has also endorsed a plan to modernise the Dubai Taxi Corporation fleet to include as many as 50 percent hybrid vehicles by 2021. Currently, 2,280 hybrids are on taxi duty at the DTC, with the firm looking to scale the number up to 4,750.

All these efforts are not in vain, for a feasibility study into using hybrids or EVs in taxi and limousine fleets from 2008 to 2011 showed fuel savings figures of 30 percent, with 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions.