Sharjah: A new, on-demand ride-hailing service using Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) will launch in Sharjah by the end of this year, officials announced on Wednesday.
Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (Sharjah RTA) has partnered with UAE-based sustainable mobility solutions company ION to launch the service in Sharjah, with a fleet including the Tesla Model S and Model 3.
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The service will first be available in Sharjah but will later expand to the rest of the UAE. Wednesday’s announcement coincides with World Electric Vehicle Day (September 9).
The service will be available through a mobile app, which will show passengers the estimated time of arrival, the number of available vehicles in the vicinity and ‘the positive carbon impact’ by travelling via ION’s service.
Through its services, ION’s fleet of EVs have covered 2.3 million kilometres to date, offsetting more than 13,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide, officials said.
In addition, ION said it will take all precautions such as the disinfection of vehicles pre and post-rides to ensure passengers are safe. Also, 40 per cent of ION’s drivers are women, which will offer “culturally appropriate transport and assurance for family-oriented commuters”.
Yousef Saleh Al Suwaiji, chairman, Sharjah RTA, said: “Sharjah RTA is always striving to provide the infrastructure for alternative and environment-friendly transport solutions. We rely on clean energy, whenever possible, in support of the UAE leadership’s initiatives to transition towards a green economy and sustainable development. This will only happen by adopting and embracing sustainable innovations in the field of transportation, which will contribute towards achieving our plan for an environment-friendly and sustainable [mode of] transfer.”
He further said: “The partnership with ION is a continuation of the authority’s initiatives towards a sustainable future and the implementation of our plan for the electric transformation in the authority’s fleet operating system. In order to achieve more energy-efficient transportation systems, which contribute to reducing carbon emissions from traditional fuels, the authority also operates 750 hybrid taxis that run on either electricity or gasoline, which contributed towards reducing the percentage of pollutants and carbon emissions in Sharjah.”
Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Bee’ah and chairman of ION, said: “ION believes in providing sustainable transportation solutions, from building an accessible EV infrastructure to introducing services that help consumers make choices that lower their personal carbon footprints. Through this partnership with Sharjah RTA, we are combining our expertise with a wider mobility network to help raise a more sustainable quality of life for residents in Sharjah.”
ION is a joint venture between Bee’ah and CE-Creates, the business incubation platform of Crescent Enterprises.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ION’s EVs and drivers were deployed, pro bono, for the transport of Sharjah Medical District’s doctors to facilitate home visits and COVID-19 testing around the clock. In addition, ION’s fleet was utilised for medicine logistics services by University Hospital Sharjah for deliveries.
ION is also working to develop the UAE’s infrastructure for mainstream EV adoption by setting up public charging stations across Sharjah. ION is providing mobility solutions within Masdar City, including a fleet of electric cars for on-demand, ride-hailing services as it expands its operations across Abu Dhabi.