View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Saturday, July 18, 2009

UAE Residents Could Be Driving Electric Cars Soon

Electric Cars News Give a Shock
Electric cars for an oil-rich country is shocking news!

Aabar, the Abu Dhabi investment fund has acquired 40 percent of Daimler’s interest in the Californian electric car producer Tesla Motors.

Announcing the deal this week, the company’s chairman, Khadem al-Qubaisi, said that focusing on electric vehicle development and other projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions was one of several areas where the companies had agreed to cooperate.

On 19 May 2009, Daimler acquired a 10 percent stake in Tesla.

While financial terms were not fully disclosed between Daimler and Aabar, an earlier deal included an agreement for the companies to work together on developing batteries and electric drive systems.

Electric Models
So what might we see in terms of electric vehicles around the roads of the Emirates in the years to come?

Daimler has been testing a fleet of electric-powered Smart for two cars in London and plans to start production of up to 1,000 of the cars at its assembly plant in Hambach, France, later this year.

Aiming to Be Clean Energy Centre
The emirate of Abu Dhabi, is using its oil revenue to become a clean energy centre and the electric car deal follows the emerging carbon-neutral Masdar city (where cars will be banned) and the selection of the UAE capital as the HQ of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Tesla Taste of Things to Come
The Californian-based Tesla remains a niche carmaker in the U.S.

By the middle of 2009 Tesla had produced 500 Roadster electric sports cars even though it is yet to turn a profit.

The Model S sedan is yet to appear but with its greater space it could be the ideal model for large UAE families.

Roadster at a Glance
* It is pure electric
* It goes from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds
* Top speed: 125 mph
* It will run 244 miles (400 kilometres) on an electric charge
* Charging time 3.5 hours (complete) and less for partial charge cycle.
* It has a carbon fibre body
* It costs only a few cents per mile.

More details about the Roadster can be found at this Specification Sheet.

Model S
The U.S. Energy Department last month announced Tesla would get $465 million in loans to engineer and build its ‘next-generation electric vehicle’, the Model S sedan.

Snapshot of Model S
* Expected to go on sale in late 2011
* Cost: Approximately $49,900 after a $7,500 American federal electric car rebate.
* Pure electric powered
* 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds
* Up to 300 mile (480 kilometres) on one charge
* 45 minute quick charge
* More cargo space than sedans
* Carries up to seven people

Link: Daimler and Aabar Share Investment in Tesla, Aabar and Daimler Press Information, 13 July 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The Roadster from different angles.