Persian Gulf Gambit
The first batch of ten experimental environmentally hybrid vehicles that will form a year-long trial programme with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai was officially handed over by General Motors after the formal inauguration of the programme by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai last week.
The agreement is the first of its kind in the Middle East and comes as a result of a directive from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to work on creating a safe, clean, attractive and sustainable environment that lives up to the emirate’s standards.
During the event, Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA said that the RTA was drastically renewing its plans for public transportation in the emirate in line with its environmentally friendly approach. Al Tayer also pointed out that the RTA and General Motors will start operational trials for one year with ten Chevrolet vehicles - five Malibus and five Tahoes - that operate on fuel and electricity. The trial period will provide ample time to judge the hybrid batteries’ performance in the harsh weather conditions in the Middle East, setting an expectation for the batteries’ lifespan in such conditions, in addition to measuring fuel savings, operational costs, and the expected reduction in emissions.
He also said that General Motors have completed operational and maintenance training for more than 100 Dubai Taxi, Dubai Police and Civil Defence employees who are now qualified to operate these advanced hybrid vehicles.
On the issue of commercialization of hybrid cars in the emirate, it will depend on the success of the trials. “We're currently running tests on the vehicles and if all goes well we'll start sales in the fourth quarter," said Terry Johnsson, president of GM's Middle East operations.
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