Taxi passengers in the emirate can now travel in low-emission hybrid cars, a first in the capital.
The 12 Dh110,000 hybrid Toyota Camry saloon cars went into service yesterday. The taxis look exactly the same as the regular silver Camry, but have a blue water drops design with "Pioneers for a better tomorrow” and "Hybrid Synergy Drive” painted on both doors. There will be no difference in the fare.
Franchise taxi company Cars Taxi, which operates a fleet of 1,021 in Abu Dhabi, announced plans to operate 100 hybrid vehicles across the country by the end of the year.
Cars Taxi currently owns and operates 50 hybrids among its fleet of 1,750 in Dubai, said executive director Abdullah Sultan Al Sabbagh.
"We started in 2012 with two hybrid taxis in Dubai, and we now plan to operate an all-hybrid taxi service in the future,” he said. "Today we are launching 12 hybrid taxis in Abu Dhabi. A Hybrid Toyota Camry costs about Dh110,00 to Dh112,000 each while the regular Camry is about Dh75,000.
"We are not looking at the price but the long-term benefits: lower fuel costs, the car's durability and maintenance costs and being environmentally friendly,” said Al Sabbagh.
The company has monitored the performance, emissions and fuel consumption of the hybrid cars. Toyota hybrids run on an electric motor up to a certain speed before switching to a petrol fuel engine.
Records show a 35 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and monthly savings of about Dh1,309 in fuel costs for each vehicle, he said.
The 55 new Camrys that will enter Cars Taxi's fleet in Abu Dhabi are expected to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of about 3,085 tonnes over 700,000 kilometres, while shaving off more than Dh3 million in fuel costs and parts, Mr Al Sabbagh said.
"It's very symbolic for the government of Abu Dhabi because it heralds the hybrid taxis for the U.A.E.'s capital city,” said John Williams, managing director at Al Futtaim Motors, distributor of Toyota in the U.A.E..
"This announcement marks the beginning of many similar initiatives to help the Government fulfil its commitment for its country's future generations.”
During a typical 700,000km life cycle, a Toyota Hybrid Camry will achieve a 35 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, compared to a regular vehicle of the same category, saving its owner more than Dh50,000 in fuel costs, said Mohammed Hassan, Al Futtaim's head of corporate service.
"We first launched the hybrid vehicles in 2009 and our project has been successful,” he said. "The first batch of cars are being delivered today, and we are now in talks with the other franchise companies.”
There are 7,147 taxis in the emirate operated by Cars Taxi, Al Ghazal Taxi, Arabia Taxi, Emirates Taxi, National Taxi, and Tawasul, and 220 airport taxi Mercedes vans and Toyota Camry cabs operated by Emirates Transport
"We welcome the fact that Cars Taxi took this initiative as it comes as part of the Government's efforts to provide a cleaner environment,” said Mohammed Al Qamzi, general manager for The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars, or TransAD.
"At the moment, there are three types of environmentally-friendly taxis: CNG-powered [compressed natural gas] taxis, the airport taxis which run on green diesel fuel, and these hybrid taxis. We leave it up to the franchise companies to choose the best one.”
Source: The National