Ministry officials with Electric Vehicle Charging Station. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: A new incentive programme launched on Wednesday by the Ministry of Energy will encourage motorists to buy new zero-carbon-emission electric vehicles through green bank loans, green insurance plans, attractive EV prices and green registration of vehicles.

Introduced at a packed announcement at Emirates Towers, the rollout was led by Minister of Energy Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui who said the new platform dubbed “Incentives for Using Electric Vehicles” will call for up to 10 per cent of car fleets of federal ministries and agencies to be electric vehicles.

The long-term plan aims for up to 20 per cent of government fleets to have electric vehicles.

Details of the incentives, including green insurance plans and green bank loans, are expected to be announced later.

Al Mazroui said: “We are working on a road map to expedite a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 of carbon emissions.”

The energy minister was on hand as 10 new agreements were signed — five by Emirates Transport in Abu Dhabi as well as another five by the Ministry of Energy to take a greener road.

The new platform is also good news for consumers, Al Mazroui said, because it is cooperating with banks, car companies and insurance firms to help educate potential electric vehicle buyers on the benefits of going green to reduce greenhouse gases in the UAE.

The minister told Gulf News that an upswing in access to cost-effective electrics cars will see more such vehicles in both the private sector and the government sector.

Electric car benefits, he said, are also becoming more attractive, Al Mazroui said, from lower prices and more charging stations across the country to higher travel ranges on one charge.

“Now, I think all of the companies are solving the problems, I think everything is leading to change and more cost-effective solutions,” he said.

Customers are also being given the option to become more environmentally responsible, he said, by opting for electric cars that are not only ecologically sound, but also practical.

“We would like people to have choices. Our cities are becoming luxurious cities, people deserve to have options like in California or London. We want people to have affordable options,” said the minister.

Car manufacturers were on hand for the incentive programme launch and displayed their electric as well as hybrid vehicles.

Tesla, BMW, Renault and Toyota each had their new electric vehicles on display.

Renault is launching its new electric car in the UAE in September while Tesla is expected to open its new service centre and showroom in Dubai in July followed by a second similar facility in Abu Dhabi later on.

In February this year, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, announced at the World Government Summit that he was opening a new service centre and showroom in Dubai and said new Tesla cars would be shipped to the UAE.

At the same time, Musk inked a new deal in Dubai with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to provide 200 electric vehicles, fitted with several components of autonomous driving technologies.

According to Tesla, the RTA will purchase Model S sedans and Model X SUVs from Tesla to add to the limousine fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC).

“This agreement is 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, to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city, and the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, at the signing ceremony.

The deal was also part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030.

Dubai ratifies incentive programme

In Dubai, meanwhile, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, joined other council members to ratify an incentive programme to promote the use of electric cars in Dubai, it was announced on Wednesday.

The decision was made by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Dubai Municipality at the 45th meeting of the Supreme Council of Energy, according to a news release by WAM.

The Supreme Council ratified directive Number 01 of 2016 that government institutions must ensure that 10 per cent of all new purchases of fleet vehicles are of hybrid or electric vehicles. The target is 2 per cent of all vehicles to be hybrid or electric by 2020 and this will rise to 10 per cent by 2030. This will help reduce total carbon emissions in Dubai by 19 per cent by 2021.