Dubai Electric Push
All around the world, countries seem to be banding together in a push toward electric vehicles. With carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and air pollution being a common theme in congested cities, there really isn't a lot of other options. In alignment with the common goal, we have popular companies like Volvo promising an all electric line-up in the near future, while China (where over half of the entire world's electric vehicles are made) has a rather ambitious goal of 5 million electric cars on the road by 2020. Some countries are even taking a more proactive approach by offering individual consumers certain perks for making the change to an electric vehicle.
Dubai, ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, has chosen this route in their attempt to curb pollution by encouraging the use of electric cars in their city. In fact, they are offering a four part incentive package for anyone who decides to ditch their petrol-powered cars in favor of zero-carbon emission electric vehicles. The following is the list of benefits included in the Dubai Green Mobility Initiative:
- Free charging at Dewa-approved stations until 2019. Since 2014, there have been 100 public charging stations set up across Dubai. By the end of 2018, that number should double making accessibility to a public (temporarily) free charging station extremely convenient to all motorists.
- Free designated green parking in Dubai. The Roads and Transport Authority is offering highly sought after free parking spaces exclusively for electric vehicles bearing the proper credentials in 14 locations across the emirate.
- Free electric vehicle registration and renewal fees. Significant savings to the vehicle owner will come in the form of free registration and renewal.
- Free Salik tag and license plate sticker identifying vehicle as electric. Even more savings will be passed on to the vehicle's owner in the form of the Salik tag, giving access to toll roads all over Dubai.
This initiative will help immensely in supporting the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 for which the goal is for Dubai to have the lowest carbon footprint in the world. The strategy, which was announced and launched in November 2015, is an ambitious plan that is only in the beginning stages of shaping the energy sector in Dubai for the good of all. The overall more quantitative goal is to have 75% of the emirate's energy provided by clean energy sources, which will hopefully set a precedence worldwide that a country with the second-largest oil reserves in the world can lead global efforts in clean and renewable energy.
It also aligns with the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to slash carbon emissions by 16% by 2021. While this is all lends itself to a worthy goal, the initiative will cost the Dubai government a great deal of money upfront. This is also being done on good faith and in hopes that once the entire city has made a major shift to sustainable transportation, the benefits of drastically reduced carbon emissions will return the city's investment back tenfold. If the specific goals Dubai has set are achieved, this is not too far of a stretch, especially considering ground transport is currently the second biggest contributor to air pollution in the city.
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However, as with all ambitious intentions, obstacles abound. Currently, the EV market in Dubai is limited, making it more difficult for consumers to get their hands on qualified and affordable vehicles. Tesla started operations in Dubai earlier this year, and France's Renault has displayed the Zoe in showrooms across the country, but outside of those, there aren't many options available. There are rumors of discussions with big-name companies, such as BMW, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda introducing their all-electric models into the country, but nothing is a guarantee at this present moment. If Dubai is truly serious about attaining these enthusiastic goals, then they will need to saturate the market with electric vehicles in an effort to get the general populace on board.