UAE-founded ekar has announced a strategic partnership with Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, to bring electric vehicle car-sharing to the Middle East by introducing five Tesla models S and X into its fleet. The vehicles are now available to hire from Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.
“Masdar City installed the first rapid charging station for electric vehicles (EV) in the Middle East,” said Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate at Masdar. “At Masdar, we recognise the value to our community of car-sharing, both economically and in terms of its reduced environmental footprint. Because the ekar platform is scalable, we’re looking forward to introducing more electric vehicles into our car-share fleet in the future.”
Demonstrating the company’s wider commitment to advance commercial sustainable mobility, today’s announcement follows Masdar’s £35 million investment into the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, which aims to expand the number of rapid charging points publicly available to electric vehicle owners in the United Kingdom. Masdar’s partnership with ekar is further of its investment to promote low-carbon transport solutions in the UAE.
“The launch of this new service expands upon our existing portfolio of sustainable mobility solutions, which includes the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system and the NAVYA Autonom Shuttle,” Baselaib added. “Furthermore, it demonstrates how cities can integrate multiple transport solutions to meet the needs of their residents, tenants and visitors sustainably.”
Users of the dedicated ekar app are now able to rent a Tesla Model S or Model X by the minute, meaning they can enjoy the benefits of driving an electric vehicle without actually buying one. After selecting the Tesla model of their choice, users collect the vehicle from an exclusive Masdar City charging station, before returning it to the nearest station for the next customer.
“We are honoured to have been selected as the strategic car-share partner of Masdar at Masdar City,” said Vilhelm Hedberg, CEO of ekar Middle East. “Our vision at ekar is to have 5 per cent of our fleet electric by 2020, to be fully electric by 2025, and fully autonomous by 2030. In order to achieve this goal it is crucial to align with innovators such as Masdar, a global clean energy pioneer and a company that is actively demonstrating how the business community can deliver on the sustainability agenda.”
“Following on from initiatives such as that of Masdar City, we see great opportunity across the Middle East in the field of electric vehicle car-shares,” added Hedberg. “The carbon emissions footprint of an electric vehicle is half that of a fossil fuel-powered vehicle when the lifecycles of the vehicles are compared, and most electric cars in the market can be integrated with our car-share technology.”
“The GCC has shown its commitment to grow the infrastructure needed to accommodate electric vehicles. For example, currently there are 50 charging stations in Abu Dhabi and 100 in Dubai, and this number is set to dramatically increase in the next 5 years.”
ekar uses state-of-the-art instant reservations and smart-access technology, providing a network of vehicles for on-demand rent in the UAE. ekar allows users to book cars via its mobile app and website, offering a “pay-by-the-use” pricing scheme that is a cost-effective alternative to daily and monthly renting. The driving license of UAE residents must be at least six months old to access ekar, while UAE visitors are only required to submit a copy of their passport, visa page and foreign driver’s licence.