Dubai Buys 200 Teslas as Taxis
On the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2017, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an agreement with Tesla Inc., a world-leading manufacturer of autonomous electric vehicles, for buying 200 hybrid electric vehicles fitted with several components of autonomous driving technologies. The new vehicles will add to the limousine fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC).
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA signed the agreement on behalf of RTA, HE Elon Musk, Chairman and CEO of Tesla Inc. signed it on behalf of the Company, in the presence of several executives and officials from both parties.
“This agreement is in implementation of the directives His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ,to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city, and the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative. It is also part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030. The agreement also reflects RTA’s efforts towards providing driverless transportation solutions through undertaking technological tests of autonomous transit means.
Al Tayer welcomed the step of Tesla to open an office in Dubai for distributing and maintaining its vehicles. “Tesla has been selected for its pioneering endeavors in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. The Company is focused on improvement and creativity in autonomous driving as well as the storage of power. Tesla is the sole producer of autonomous deluxe electric vehicles and as part of its efforts to utilize alternative energy sources; it took over Solar City Company.
“Last year, Tesla developed a hybrid system for generating and storing solar energy in Tesla vehicles and broadened its scope to manufacture buses and heavy vehicles. It has also improved the autonomous driving systems by migrating from semi-autonomous driving to a fully autonomous driving environment; thus obviating the need for a human driver. It is also engaged in improving the shared mobility service through developing service systems for the next generation,” added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer noted that the RTA would carry out a test run of Tesla autonomous hybrid electric vehicles as part of the Dubai Taxi limo fleet as part of its objective to support the Dubai Government efforts in transforming Dubai into the smartest city in mobility worldwide by 2020.
According to Tesla, the RTA will purchase Model S sedans and Model X SUVs from Tesla for the program. Tesla’s Model S received the highest possible safety ratings at launch and has the longest range of any electric vehicle. Model X blends performance and utility with unique features including falcon wing doors, a panoramic windshield and seven-seat configuration, offering unprecedented convenience and maneuverability. Both vehicles benefit from free over-the-air software updates that add new features and functionality over time. In addition to powerful all-electric vehicles, Tesla has also designed a unique set of energy generation and storage products, Powerwall, Powerpack and solar roof. When combined, three key components can make a positive impact on the world: electric cars, renewable energy and batteries.
Tesla reports that the Model S and the Model X vehicles purchased by RTA are equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level greater than that of a human driver. Tesla’s Autopilot is designed as a hands-on experience to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel, increase their safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable by reducing the driver’s workload.