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Electric-car drivers in Dubai will enjoy free parking, recharging, vehicle registration, and toll exemptions until the end of 2019, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy announced.
The incentives are designed “to encourage the public use of electric vehicles in Dubai to help protect the environment,” said Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the energy council and managing director/chief executive officer of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
The move is part of the Dubai Green Mobility initiative to motivate organizations to use more hybrid and electric vehicles to help reduce carbon emissions in ground transportation, which is the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter in Dubai, according to Al Tayer.
At least 10 percent of the new cars that Dubai’s government institutions buy between 2016 and 2020 will be electric or hybrid, helping to raise the proportion of such vehicles to 2 percent by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030.
“This supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 for Dubai to have the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050, and the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to cut carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2021,” Al Tayer added.
Dubai currently has 100 public electric vehicle charging stations, with 100 more planned in 2018. Electric or hybrid cars are distributed by Tesla, BMW, Renault, and Toyota. The sector grew by 30 percent from 2014 to 2016, Al Tayer said. The incentives could save the average driver commuting daily to Dubai’s business district, charging and parking for free and using the Salik toll gates more than 10,000 dirhams (about $2,722) each year, said Nabeel Alzaka, co-founder and CEO of Surface Mobility Consultants in Dubai.
“There is an appetite for electric vehicles, particularly now that car manufacturers are becoming a little bit more inventive,” Alzaka said by phone Sept. 24, noting that some electric models, like the BMW i8 now in service with the Dubai police, matched in looks and performance the high-end supercars popular in the Emirates.
“These cars are as fast as Lamborghinis and Ferraris. They are as glitzy and as glamorous,” he said. “The car manufacturers are heading toward providing those fast supercars the Dubai market will want. Will that ever eradicate Ferraris and Lamborghinis? I don’t think so. People will still want to have the gas-guzzlers and the sound of the engines but I think you’ll find people will swap their petrol cars for a nice, shiny, sparkling electric vehicle.”
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