Dubai jumpstarts e-car sales with free Salik tags, charging, parking

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Residents will receive free parking spots and free Salik tags among other incentives if they choose to own an electric vehicle and leave their fuel-powered cars behind, officials announced last week.

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In collaboration with Road and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced a number of incentives for electric cars owners to promote green mobility and sustainable transport around the emirate.

The RTA will provide four initiatives for electric car owners including free parking spots in 40 different locations that will be designed across Dubai specifically for users by the end of this year.

E-car users will also be exempted from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees, and will get free Salik tag upon registration.

RTA will also provide a unique plate number sticker for electric vehicles to help inspectors differentiate the vehicles in public places.

Similarly, DEWA will enable e-car users to charge their vehicles at 100 green charging stations across Dubai for free until the end of 2019 – exclusive for public charging stations and not including home charging stations. The authority is working on installing 100 more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to bring the number up to 200 by 2018, and thus build a strong infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive officer of DEWA, said introducing such incentives will help authorities solve challenges in implementing and promoting electric cars in Dubai.

“[The main challenge is] we don’t see electric cars in the market and we would like to penetrate the market by providing such incentives. I am sure now that government and private entities, or even individuals will shift to electric vehicles when they know how much they can save,” said Al Tayer.

He noted that although the electric car sector has grown by about 30 percent between 2014 and 2016, the ownership of the zero-carbon emission vehicles in Dubai remains unsatisfactory.

With numbers of electric cars not exceeding 800 vehicles in the emirate, Al Tayer said the aim is to make electric cars reach 2 percent of Dubai’s vehicular fleet by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030.

“Our ambition is to increase the numbers of e-cars to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions. Currently, the number of e-cars is very low, which is why we started improving infrastructure and adding more charging stations,” said Al Tayer.

According to DEWA studies, Dubai expects the number of electric and hybrid cars on the road to reach 32,000 by 2020 and 42,000 by 2030.

Government institutions are moving in line with UAE Vision 2021 to create a sustainable environment for air quality and increase clean energy and green development. At least 10 percent of newly-purchased cars by government organizations will be electric or hybrid from 2016 to 2020. This supports the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to cut carbon emissions by 16 per cent by 2021.

Last week, RTA unveiled 50 Tesla EVs that will be added to the limo fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corp., with aims to occupy 50 percent of Dubai’s taxi fleet with electric vehicles by 2021.

Electric cars save money
Al Tayer said using electric cars will help save millions on the long run, besides reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

“Even after the three years, e-car users will be able to save a lot of money on the long term, reducing operating costs by 40 percent for car rental companies, public and private sector and individuals,” he added.

EV users can download DEWA’s smart app to locate Green Chargers across the city. The app indicates empty and busy charging points in shopping malls and public areas.

New buildings will have designated parking spaces for e-cars
It will be mandatory for developers to designate parking space for electric vehicles as part of their construction process of upcoming buildings.

Going with the green building standards and rating system “Al Safat,” those who achieve the silver rating will have to assign 5 percent of parking spaces to EVs. Developers who achieve gold rating have to designate 7 percent of parking space to electric vehicles, while platinum-rated buildings have to dedicate 10 percent to e-cars.

It will also be mandatory for buildings to provide EV charging stations.

He added that in 2017, the municipality has dedicated 25 percent of its budget to using electric cars within the organization. The civic body purchased 21 hybrid cars this year.

KHALEEJ TIMES (DUBAI, UAE)/TNS

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