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Dec 23 2017

Trial run of the region’s first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle in Dubai Taxi fleet

Al Tayer launching the trial run of the hydrogen vehicle

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has launched the trial run of the first electric hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle, Toyota Mirai, as part of the Dubai Taxi Fleet, in collaboration with Al Futtaim Motors. The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has zero emissions, only water emissions. It is noiseless and can travel 500 km on a full tank, and refilling it takes not more than five minutes.

The emission-free Toyota Mirai is powered by hydrogen, which generates electricity inside the engine after being mixed with oxygen supplied through the grill intake at the front of the vehicle. The vehicle is characterised by high-level driving convenience and uses Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS) that combines the fuel cell technology and the hybrid technology. It contains a fuel cell stack and a high-pressure hydrogen tank.

“RTA attaches paramount importance to protecting the environment and saving power consumption, and Safety and Environmental Sustainability is a strategic goal of RTA. This experiment is in line with the nation-wide initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2012 themed: ‘Green Economy for Sustainable Development.’ It also resonates the energy and low carbon strategy of the Dubai Government aimed at making Dubai a role model in the efficient power consumption, and low carbon emission. It is also in the context of RTA’s compliance with the master plan for reducing carbon emissions of taxis by 2% as stipulated by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and the Green Economy drive,” said Al Tayer.

Al Tayer was delighted for the Dubai Taxi Corporation to become the first taxi operator in the Middle East to deploy a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (Mirai) in its fleet. “RTA will start a trial run of the vehicle as part of its limousine service in the Dubai International Airport to assess the economic feasibility and environmental benefits of its operation besides verifying the efficiency of the engine, maintenance cost and other parameters,” he noted. 

50% Hybrid

“RTA was the first entity in the region to start the trial run of hybrid (fuel and electricity) vehicles as part of its taxi fleet from 2008 to 2011. Results have proved the economic and environmental feasibility of the experiment by saving fuel consumption by 30% and reducing carbon emission by 30% as well. RTA announced a plan to convert 50% of Dubai Taxicabs into hybrid vehicles by 2021. The Plan involves raising the number of hybrid taxis in Dubai from 791 cabs in 2016 to 4750 cabs in 2021. The Dubai Taxi Corporation accounts for the largest share of hybrid vehicles (2280 vehicles), and the number of hybrid vehicles currently accounts for 20% of the fleet,” added Al Tayer.

Refueling Station

Saud Abbasi, Managing Director of Toyota at Al-Futtaim Motors, said, “The addition of Toyota Mirai to the Dubai Taxi fleet is part of the strategic partnership between the two parties. It is also in the context of Al Futtaim Motors’ efforts to realize the UAE 2021 Vision, and encourage the use of hydrogen as a replacement of fossil fuel. Delivering the first hydrogen vehicle to the Dubai Taxi Corporation is a prelude of spreading hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the UAE. Al Futtaim Motors is working with its partners to establish a series of Hydrogen Refilling Stations in support of this technology. 

“Last October, Al Futtaim Motors, in collaboration with Air Liquide, has opened the first hydrogen refilling station in the UAE at the Dubai Festival City. The opening of the station will facilitate the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at a larger scale,” added Abbasi.

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