Dubai: The Board of Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has endorsed a plan to transform taxis in Dubai (Dubai Taxi and franchise company taxis) into 100 per cent environmentally-friendly (hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered) by 2027.
The move meets the requirements of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Green Economy drive, and the Dubai Government’s strategic directions toward comprehensive environmental sustainability.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority, said: “The plan to transform taxis into environmentally-friendly vehicles translates the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai to optimise energy usage and promote environmental sustainability in the UAE. RTA has taken decisive action toward creating a safe, clean, and sustainable environment that befits Dubai’s reputation. This initiative supports the Dubai Government’s efforts to introduce green vehicles and promote a cleaner environment.”
Over 8,000 hybrid vehicles
He added that RTA has made “remarkable progress” in this regard, successfully transforming 72 per cent of the taxis in Dubai into environmentally friendly vehicles, comprising a total of 8,221 hybrid vehicles. This significant accomplishment aligns with the overarching goal of optimising energy usage, creating a sustainable environment, and positioning Dubai as a leader in promoting green transportation.
“The five-year plan [2023-2027] aims to switch the entire taxi fleet into fully environmentally-friendly [hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered] within five years at a rate of 10 per cent per annum to achieve the targeted 100 per cent by 2027. The plan is aligned with RTA’s roadmap for transforming public transport means into emission-free by 2050,” said Al Tayer.
Environmental and cost savings
“The results of experiments on eco-friendly vehicles, which RTA started trialling in 2008, confirmed the environmental benefits of reducing carbon emissions, fuel consumption, and maintenance costs, as well as decreasing noise levels.
"Hybrid vehicles also have a longer lifespan compared to regular vehicles and cost less in the long run. They are characterised by lower purchase prices, maintenance fees, fuel expenses, insurance premiums, and other associated costs that potentially could be as low as 50 per cent of regular vehicles.”
The operating fleet in Dubai reached 11,371 taxis by the end of 2022. Taxis made 105 million trips and travelled over 2 billion kilometres in the same year.
Dubai’s infrastructure is key in promoting the use of eco-friendly vehicles and increasing their demand. The fast pace of technology, coupled with the reduction in electric vehicle charging time from eight hours to less than 1.5 hours, indicates that the charging time will continue to shorten in the future given the widespread of hydrogen refilling stations as an environmentally friendly alternative.
Dubai’s initial plan to transform 50 per cent of its taxi fleet into eco-friendly has produced a remarkable reduction in carbon emissions by as much as 420,000 tonnes annually, equivalent to 70,000 tonnes per year. This has stimulated local automotive companies to roll out a range of hybrid vehicles tailored for the Gulf region.
RTA was a pioneer in the region when launching the trial of hybrid vehicles powered by fuel and electricity for its Dubai Taxi fleet in 2008. It marked the start of RTA’s dedicated efforts to transform the infrastructure of public transport networks to make them environmentally friendly.
The Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) boasts the largest fleet of eco-friendly vehicles with hybrid vehicles accounting for over 34 per cent of the taxis fleet in Dubai. It is followed by Cars Taxi, National Taxi, Arabia Taxi, and Metro Taxi.