Next time you want to hire a limousine through Dubai Taxi service, look out for the latest Teslas that have hit the streets of Dubai recently.
Fifty Tesla electric vehicles have been operational since September 2017 — 25 of those are sedan Model S and the remaining are SUV Model X. An additional 75 vehicles will be supplied in 2018 and 75 others will be delivered in 2019. This is part of a deal signed last February for adding 200 Tesla cars to Dubai Taxi’s limousine fleet by 2019.
“This initiative is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the smartest city in the world, support its green economy and to turn 25% of the trips in the emirate autonomous,” said Ammar Rashid Al Breiki, Acting Corporate Administrative Support Services Director, Dubai Taxi Corporation.
Model (X) has certain distinguishing features such as falcon wing doors, panoramic windshield, a seven-seat configuration. Model (S) has garnered the largest possible rating of safety as it can cover the longest distance amongst electric vehicles.
How much will a ride cost you?
For now the vehicles can be hired directly from the airport but soon they will be introduced throughout Dubai.
At the moment, the fare at the airport starts at Dh25, which is same as a regular taxi. The rate per kilometer is Dh5. But once they are introduced all over Dubai, the fare would change.
How can the vehicles be charged?
Both the models can go up to 400km with a single charge. The charging takes about 3 to 4 hours.
“Every Tesla driver works for 8 hours. After every 8-hour shift, the car will be charged for 3-4 hours. That way we ensure maximum utilisation of the vehicle. We have two main stations for charging. One at the Dubai Taxi Corporation office and the other at the airport. Plus there are 103 charging stations all over Dubai. So there’s no place in Dubai where this car can’t go,” added Mr. Ammar.
The drivers are wisely chosen and specially trained to handle the electric vehicles and their supporting technologies.
Additionally, Al Breiki noted that both models come equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability but they don’t drive themselves yet.
“We are working on the legal formalities to operate them as autonomous vehicles. The cars are equipped with autonomous capabilities which will be enabled when the project is finalised,” he added.
Tesla taxis also enjoy some exemptions till 2019 that have been put in place in cooperation with DEWA and RTA. Till 2019, charging the cars is free of cost and so is the salik tag. The parking spaces for these vehicles are also free.
“The world is moving towards electric and hybrid vehicles to save the environment. We are optimistic that Tesla taxis will do well going by the demand we have received so far,” Al Breiki added. More info
By Nilanjana Gupta (Senior Web Journalist / Videographer)/Dubai khaleejtimes.com