Electric and hybrid vehicles ‘on the rise in the UAE’

Users include government entities and businesses, says consultancy TRL

PHOTO: The Toyota Prius hybrid was launched this month in the UAE. Credit: Al-Futtaim Motors

Electric and hybrid modes of transport are gaining momentum in the Gulf region and particularly the UAE, according to the UK-based consultancy Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Pioneering users of these new modes of transportation include government entities and business enterprises that have started to operate electric or hybrid fleets of vehicles. Earlier this month, for instance, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that half the emirate’s cabs would be hybrid cars by 2021.

The trend towards greener modes of transport complements the results of the recent UN COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris, which highlighted the need to cut greenhouse gases like CO2 by as much as 80% in many countries by 2020.

According to TRL, widespread adoption of electrified powertrain vehicles will play a critical role in the move to meet air quality and emission targets

Key drivers behind the adoption of electric vehicles in emerging markets include: vehicle availability; government incentives to purchase and charge vehicles; network of charging stations; public awareness and the desire to “go green”.

Dubai has already established an initial network of around 100 charging stations, as part of efforts to boost the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs). In addition, select manufacturers have already expressed interest in introducing hybrid or fully electric models in the UAE. A recent example is the Toyota Prius hybrid, which was launched this month in the Emirates.

“Regardless of the method chosen to achieve electrification, the concept of recharging vehicles on the move, combined with other initiatives, could play an important role in helping many regions to achieve their vision of becoming smart, connected and sustainable, said Akin Adamson, Middle East regional director at TRL.

In a statement, the firm noted that recent reports have shown that transport infrastructure, particularly the internal combustion engine, are significant contributors to poor air quality, especially in urban environments.

EVs are poised to offer a solution for tackling current air quality problems as they provide zero tailpipe emissions. However, current EVs are far more suited to short, urban journeys rather than inter-urban and rural use, the consultancy said. Their range and utilisation are constrained by battery limitations and charging times; hence, they are often not practical for longer journeys or outside of cities.


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