The Tesla all-electric Model S and Model X introduced at the new Tesla Store in Dubai on July 12. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The road to acquiring zero-carbon electric cars just got a little wider and smoother for the general public thanks to new incentives launched by UAE and Dubai Government departments.

With the race now on by car manufacturers around the world to provide cleaner, eco-friendly electric vehicles (EVs), consumers in the UAE are getting a little help from their government to help make the transition from fossil-fuel powered cars to electric easier.

In May, Minister of Energy and Industry, Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, launched the new federal platform dubbed ‘Incentives for Using Electric Vehicles,’ which calls for up to 10 per cent of car fleets of federal ministries and agencies to be electric vehicles.

The incentives include green insurance plans and green bank loans, which are still being finalised.

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

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.

Dubai’s road and energy authorities announced in September that they are giving residents four good reasons to replace their petrol-powered cars in favour of zero-carbon emission electric vehicles.

Consumers who opt to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) will enjoy a number of special new incentives reserved for forward-thinking motorists who want to join the green movement to cut greenhouse gases and save a little money along the way.

In a new road map to greener roads unveiled by Dubai at the Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa, officials pledged major savings for new electric car owners besides incentives.

New EV buyers will be able to charge their vehicles for free at Dewa-approved stations until 2019, use free designated green parking in Dubai, get free electric vehicle registration and renewal fees as well as a free Salik tag and a licence plate sticker identifying the vehicle as an electric car.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, said during the launch that “under the umbrella of the Supreme Energy Council, Dewa is working on implementing the Dubai Green Mobility Initiative to promote the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.

“This supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 for Dubai to have the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050 and the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to slash carbon emissions by 16 per cent by 2021.”

The incentives programme is in keeping with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy’s creation of the Dubai Green Mobility Initiative, Al Tayer said, to “motivate organisations to use sustainable transport such as hybrid and electric vehicles and to contribute to the sustainable development of the Emirate by reducing carbon emissions in ground transport, which is the second largest gas emitter in Dubai.”

Al Tayer said the aim is to encourage a rise in sales of EVs across the Emirate by two per cent by 2020 and by 10 per cent by 2030.

Noting that Dubai’s pursuit of cleaner energy and an incentive programme is costing millions in upfront outlays, he noted that “Dewa’s registered users will be able to have their electric vehicles charged by Dewa’s green charger electric vehicle charging stations completely free until the end of 2019.”

Use of home-charging stations will not be free, he clarified.

Nasser Hamad Khalifa Abu Shehab, CEO of Strategy and Corporate Governance at the Roads and Transport Authority, said that 14 locations across the Emirate will be earmarked for free RTA parking for electric cars.

Bearing the EV sticker on the licence plate is a must to utilise the free space, he said.

“There will also be an official [licence] sticker to ensure the parking is used in the right way,” he said, adding that the new incentives mirror other RTA EV efforts such as making 50 per cent of all Dubai taxis electric by 2021.