Higher emission standards reshaping UAE vehicle fleets

Local operators are adopting Euro 4 and Euro 5 fleets as the UAE pushes ahead with its uptake of environment-friendly and 'smart' vehicles

50 Tesla vehicles are being operated as taxis in Dubai.
50 Tesla vehicles are being operated as taxis in Dubai.
ESMA's Euro 4 mandate is contributing to the UAE's push for electric vehicles and engines with higher Euro emission ratings.
ESMA's Euro 4 mandate is contributing to the UAE's push for electric vehicles and engines with higher Euro emission ratings.

The UAE's initiatives to adopt environment-friendly, fuel- and cost-efficient, and 'smart' vehicles is reshaping local fleets.

Government-driven efforts to incorporate greener units in public transport fleets are encouraging private-sector operators to similarly adopt environment-friendly vehicles. Starting 2018, Euro 4 regulation has also been mandated by the country's Emirates Authority For Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), further encouraging environment-friendly fleets in the UAE.

For instance, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed a contract last month to procure more than 300 Euro 5- and Euro 6-compliant buses.

The deal will see RTA receive 316 multi-size buses, which are expected to cost around $126.5m (AED465m). Included within the contract are 143 deluxe Volvo coaches, which will be used for the expansion of inter-city bus services to Abu Dhabi and northern cities.

The contract also includes 79 double-deck MAN buses to serve urban areas with high-density riders, in addition to 94 medium-size Optare buses to widen network coverage in Dubai and improve occupancy rates. 

Volvo's inter-city coaches are fitted with Euro 6 engines, with each able to accommodate 55 riders. The units also feature an automated hydraulic lift to serve People of Determination, in addition to internet services. 

READ: FAMCO rolls out Euro 5 Volvo Trucks in the UAE

MAN's Double-Deck bus can accommodate 100 riders. Meanwhile, Optare's mid-size buses will debut in RTA's fleet as part of the agreement. RTA said Optare's buses, each of which can fit 33 riders, were meant to offer a wider coverage of internal areas, which are not easily accessible to large buses.

HE Mattar Al Tayer, director general of RTA, attended the signing ceremony for the buses, which took place on the sidelines of the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition 2018, Dubai Media Office reported.

The agreement was signed by Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, chief executive officer (CEO) of RTA's Public Transport Agency; managing director of Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, Suwaidan Saeed Al Naboodah, for Optare; Khalifa Saif Al Kutbi, CEO of United Motors and Heavy Equipment for MAN; and Nigel Johnson, CEO of FAMCO, for Volvo.

Commenting on the agreement, Al Tayer said: "The procurement of the new buses is part of a master plan set out to upgrade mass transit systems in Dubai and keep them aligned with the highest global practices.

"The plan also [...] conforms to RTA’s endeavour to make public transport the ideal mobility choice of people, and push the share of public transport in people mobility to as much as 30% by 2030."

READ: Bee'ah to buy 50 Tesla Semi Trucks

RTA's agreement came shortly after its announcement on how its Tesla fleet had performed so far in the city.

The 50 Tesla electric vehicle (EV) units that are being operated as taxis in Dubai have completed more than 2.1 million km since their roll-out, it was revealed in March. The cars have made 64,186 trips since their launch in September 2017, RTA announced. 

Adel Ahmed Sharif, director of fleet operations at Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC), said customer satisfaction for the vehicles had been rated at 97%, adding: "We have a total of 50 Tesla electric vehicles on the roads, and the demand is still on the rise for such luxury vehicles.

"We will beef up the fleet to 125 electric vehicles this year, and we have 13 charging stations across Dubai. The launch of Tesla electric cars is part of Dubai’s push towards the Green Economy for Sustainable Development Initiative, saving about $1.2m (AED4.3m) of fuel consumption," Sharif continued.

READ: Oman hotel switches to eco-friendly Nissan fleet

Tesla EVs can be booked at the Dubai International Airport (DXB), using the Uber app, or through DTC's call and email services. Features such as Powerwall and Powerpack Batteries will be added to DTC's Tesla fleet over time. 

Sharif said that the authority also has specific criteria to select drivers for its EV units, based on period assessments: "The best [drivers] will be [offered] training courses at DTC’s training centre as part of RTA’s vision for providing smooth and easy transport for all."

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