DUBAI// Sultan Al Amri and Jim Kor will not be getting behind the wheel during this year’s Car Free Day, but they plan to in the next year or so.
However, rather than openly flouting the initiative that hopes to reduce the amount of vehicles on the roads, the pair hope to be driving emission-free and eco-friendly vehicles.
Mr Al Amri is chief executive of Oman’s Nur Majan that created the Nur Majan electric car. Although still in the concept stage and not roadworthy just yet, the vehicle will be on display as part of Dubai Municipality’s exhibition at Union Metro Station on February 21.
“We have been working on this car for the past six years and we will be bringing the concept car to Dubai,” Mr Al Amri said. He also said that the vehicle was the first electric car to be fully designed and produced in the region.
The four-door Nur Majan comes with impressive luxury features and an engine that can take it from zero to nearly 100kph in about four seconds.
“Everything, from its design to its production, was done in Oman with no European or American [help],” he said. Production of the car is scheduled to begin in 2018.
Mr Al Amri said initiatives such as Dubai Municipality’s Car Free Day, which is in its seventh year, were an important way of raising people’s awareness about environmental issues and using alternative modes of transport.
“It’s important to realise there needs to be less pollution, and this initiative is in line with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s aims to encourage people to use bicycles, which are also good for health and fitness.”
News of the car-free initiative has spread beyond the region to North America, with Canadian-based company KorEcologic expressing an interest.
Jim Kor, president of the firm that designed and built the world’s first 3-D printed hybrid vehicle, Urbee, said he hoped to showcase the car next year. “I always loved cars, but I was also into preserving the environment and thought something fundamentally different had to be done with the car if it was going to reach any level of sustainability,” he said.
Mr Kor said work on the Urbee started in 1996 and most of the public’s interest was centred around the fact that its chassis was made using 3-D printing technology. But, he said, focus had shifted over the years towards the car’s green credentials. He said the company was working on Urbee 2, but “we need funding to create the real car”.
“We are turning Urbee 1 into Urbee 1.5, a slightly improved version, which should be ready by next year and could be shown for the first time in Dubai at Car Free Day.”
Dubai Municipality’s exhibition will feature three themes; environmentally friendly vehicles; a display of the latest technologies and practices to improve air quality; and the preservation of natural resources.
This year, the emirate’s government hopes a record 1,000 organisations will take part in the event, more than three times the number involved last year.
One hundred organisations based in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) will be taking part in the campaign.
But the industrial area will hold its event three days after the rest of the city, said Ibrahim Mohamed Aljanahi, deputy chief executive.
“Jafza has always championed the cause of sustainable living and Car Free Day is one of the many programmes that we have always supported.
“We are a community in itself with a sizeable workforce. Our joint efforts on this day include car-pooling and using public transport to the maximum,” he said.