The UAE's public transport sector is leading the charge towards a greener future as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah roll out electric-powered cars in their taxi fleet.
Five Tesla vehicles hit the roads of the capital this month under the partnership between the Integrated Transport Centre and public taxi franchisee, Arabia Taxi Transportation.
The announcement was made only days after Sharjah's Roads and Transport Authority revealed it was integrating 10 Tesla Model 3 cars to its ranks.
In July, Dubai's RTA said it was adding Model 3 saloons to Dubai Taxi Corporation's operations.
It followed a trial run since 2017 in which 172 Model S, X and 3s are used in the RTA's higher-end limo service.
In 2021, Dubai's transport authority operated two Volvo V900 electrics to support the country's sustainability drive.
The gradual shift away from petrol vehicles is key to the UAE's efforts to hit net zero emission goals by 2050.
“This step contributes to reducing carbon emissions from vehicle exhausts thus enhancing air quality, especially since taxis roam the streets of the emirate for several hours a day, seven days a week," said an ITC representative.
"It also supports the Integrated Transport Centre’s efforts in transitioning towards environmentally friendly and sustainable transport, which further enhances the quality of life in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
“The operation of Tesla vehicles within the taxi fleet contributes to enhancing the role of the transport sector and supporting sustainable development goals defined by the emirate's vision, while also strengthening the country's strategy to reduce carbon emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050 for a carbon-neutral future.”
No extra charge for Tesla taxi ride
Fare prices will be the same as a standard petrol-powered taxi under what is being described as a trial of the electric vehicles.
“The current tariff will not be modified, as this stage is considered experimental and the ITC will evaluate the situation during the next stage after increasing the number of those vehicles, taking into account several factors that determine taxi fares, not only fuel prices," the ITC representative said.
"Not only that, but other costs like purchasing a vehicle for the franchise companies, as well as the costs of maintenance, driver recruitment, and continuous qualification and training programmes to ensure safe driving and enhance traffic safety levels on the roads."
The ITC said there are currently 6,390 taxis operating in Abu Dhabi, of which 78 per cent are hybrid vehicles which produce low carbon emissions.