PHOTO CAPTION: Dubai Silicon Oasis in the Persian Gulf emirate

Dubai Studying Electric Car Incentives

Rich in oil and gas, the United Arab Emirate of Dubai is seriously considering western-style incentives to encourage its citizenry to buy electric cars.

Published: 08-Apr-2015

The Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai measures just 1,588 square miles and is home to an estimated 2.1 million people. By way of comparison, the Greater Los Angeles Long Beach metro area is 21 times larger, but in terms of population density, the emirate has nearly two and half times the number of people per square mile as LA.

Moving all those people around is a major challenge for the government where the average commuter spends 1.75 hours going to and from work in a city where there are 541 cars per 1000 population. At the current rate of new car ownership, it is estimated there will be 5.3 million registered cars in the emirate. In response, the government has invested in a 74.6 km metro system, along with tram and bus systems.

Still with all those cars forecast, Dubai's leadership is considering ways to incentive buyers to switch to electric cars. Arabian Business reports that officials are considering a menu of different approaches.

“Having the infrastructure ready for charging the vehicles is a first step in this direction. Various other things are being looked at like reducing the customs duty or subsidising the cost for buyers," stated Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

DEWA has already installed some 16 public charging stations, including one at Dubai Silicon Oasis, pictured above, with plans for upwards of 100 units in the future. The rate for charging a car like the Tesla Model S is less than $2USD.

The Emirate has a strong economic incentive for switching to electric. In 1980, the combined UAE, consumed 70,000 barrels of oil per day. By 2013 that had mushroomed to 698,000 barrels per day. The more oil its citizens consume, the less there is to export. Conveniently, the UAE generates most of its electric power from natural gas, a much harder commodity to export than oil.

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