There’s green to be had in the midst of the desert, and this time it’s in the form of hybrid cars.

The RTA has just announced their plan to turn half of Dubai’s taxi fleet into hybrid cars by 2021, this will bring the number of hybrids in the fleet up from 150 to 4,750.

A study carried out by the RTA a few years ago concluded that replacing all the cabs in Dubai with hybrids would reduce carbon emissions by 230,000 tonnes per year, and would save Dhs170 million.

The hybrids, fuelled by a combination of both electricity and petrol will produce 30 percent less carbon emissions than an average taxi. The electricity-petrol combo allows the car to run on a self-charging electric motor on speeds up to 40km/h, it switches to petrol for anything faster than that.

Dubai Taxi

The RTA have played around with hybrid taxis before. In 2008, the results of their hybrid experiment showed that carbon emissions were reduced by 34 percent, fuel consumption was down by 33 percent, noise levels were lower and maintenance costs were minimal due to the lower chance of mechanical faults.

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Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA said that 791 taxis will be added to the fleet this year, climbing to 1,582 in 2017, 2,375 in 2018, 3,167 in 2019, 3,959 in 2020 and 4,750 in 2021.

This move to hybrids comes as part of a plan to follow Dubai’s Green Economy drive – it hopes to be the most sustainable city in the world by 2050. It’s also got something to do with the deregulation of fuel prices, and the fact the general costs of running a hybrid are lower than that of a regular car.

The RTA began trials last year for an entirely electric bus, which can be recharged in just 30 minutes, traveling 200km on a single charge.

All that glitters is gold in Dubai, but it’s nice to see a dash of green every once in a while.

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