Dubai Taxi Limo service. Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Within the next seven years, 90 per cent of all limousines in Dubai will be green.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai announced an initiative to transform 90 per cent of limousines operating in Dubai into environmental-friendly vehicles by 2026.

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

Up to 65 per cent of the Dubai limousine fleet will be hybrid vehicles and 25 per cent will be electric vehicles. The plan includes building up the ratio of green limos gradually from the current 6 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020, and double up to 20 per cent in 2021.

The proportion of environmental-friendly vehicles will pick up to 30 per cent by 2022, and the momentum will continue annually afterwards to reach 40 per cent in 2023, 55 per cent in 2024, 70 per cent in 2025 until hitting the targeted rate of 90 per cent in 2026.

Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors at the RTA, said: “This initiative is implemented under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to save power consumption in the UAE, which is crucial for the 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 Al Tayer.

“The step is part of a master plan to curb carbon emissions of taxis and limos by two per cent 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.

“About 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 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 Dh20,000 over the life cycle of each vehicle. Hybrid vehicles make a saving of Dh30,000. From an environmental perspective, electric vehicles do not have any harmful emissions, while the use of hybrid vehicles cuts emissions by 40 per cent.

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

RTA has endorsed a plan to transform 50 per cent 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. Hybrid vehicles currently make 28 per cent of the total taxi fleet in Dubai.