Uber rid­ers in Dubai can now se­lect elec­tric pow­ered Tesla

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

DUBAI: Ride-hail­ing ser­vice Uber on Tues­day be­gan of­fer­ing its cus­tomers in Dubai the op­tion to ride in one of 50 new Tesla elec­tric-pow­ered ve­hi­cles - a stark con­trast to the large gas-guz­zling sedans and lux­ury sports cars that dom­i­nate the emi­rate’s six-lane high­ways.

The US-based ride-hail­ing app launched the UberONE op­tion in part­ner­ship with Dubai Taxi Cor­po­ra­tion, which added 50 Tesla Model X and Model S to its fleet last month. The ve­hi­cles, which Uber rid­ers can se­lect for a slightly higher fare, are equipped with self-driv­ing com­po­nents. Dubai’s trans­port au­thor­ity is aim­ing to add an­other 150 Tesla ve­hi­cles to its fleet in 2018 and 2019, part of a wider push to have 25 per­cent of all jour­neys au­ton­o­mous by 2030. Al­ready, Dubai has the world’s long­est driver­less metro net­work.

Uber’s Gen­eral Man­ager in the United Arab Emi­rates, Chris Free, said the part­ner­ship to in­tro­duce elec­tric-pow­ered rides for cus­tomers is line with the com­pany’s drive to pro­vide rid­ers with “new and pro­gres­sive ex­pe­ri­ences.” The for­ward-look­ing emi­rate of Dubai and the oil-rich seat of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Abu Dhabi, have em­braced the push for elec­tric-pow­ered ve­hi­cles. In Dubai alone, there are elec­tric ve­hi­cle power sta­tions near the world’s tallest sky­scraper, the Burj Khal­ifa, and the Mid­dle East’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall.

Tesla also opened a show­room in Dubai in Fe­bru­ary. The Amer­i­can elec­tric car man­u­fac­turer’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk has said the com­pany plans on in­vest­ing mil­lions of dol­lars across the United Arab Emi­rates to sup­port build­ing up an in­fra­struc­ture for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, de­spite fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from the re­gion’s sub­si­dized lower gas prices. There are cur­rently more than two dozen Tesla charg­ers in the UAE, with an­other 50 planned. Still, Tes­las and other bat­tery­op­er­ated mod­els sold in the UAE, such as Re­nault’s Twizy and Zoe, re­main rare as soar­ing sum­mer tem­per­a­tures re­quire driv­ers turn on air-con­di­tion­ing. — AP

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