In line with its strategic plan to provide sustainable mobility solutions and environment-friendly means of transportation, Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority (Sharjah RTA) has partnered with the UAE-based sustainable mobility solutions company ION to launch a new on-demand ride-hailing service in Sharjah, with a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) including Tesla Model S and Model 3 by the end of 2020. The service will be available for the emirate of Sharjah and will expand to the rest of the UAE.
The announcement coincides with World Electric Vehicle Day, a day marked to recognize the importance of global e-mobility.
ION’s selection for the partnership was due to its sustainable EV fleet, smart operations and customer-oriented back-end support. The new EV ride-hailing service will be available through a mobile application, which will offer passengers estimated time of arrival, view the number of available vehicles in the vicinity and even the positive carbon impact by travelling via ION’s service.
Electric vehicles produce fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and exhaust emissions than convention vehicles, which help to improve air quality in urban centres. Through its services, ION’s fleet of electric vehicles have covered 2.3 million kilometres to date, offsetting over 13,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
In addition, ION will take all necessary precautions such as the disinfection of vehicles pre- and post-rides will be taken to ensure passengers are safe. ION’s drivers are also highly qualified, and 40 percent of ION’s drivers are female, a figure that epitomises a company driving the nation’s diversification efforts to enhance gender equality. This will also offer culturally appropriate transport and assurance for family-oriented commuters.
“Sharjah RTA is always striving to provide the infrastructure for alternative and environmental transport solutions. We rely on clean energy whenever possible in support of the UAE leadership’s initiatives to transition towards a green economy and sustainable development. This will only happen by adopting and embracing sustainable innovations in the field of transportation, which will contribute to achieving our plan towards an environmentally and civilized sustainable transfer. Such an approach is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, regarding the need to adopt the most sustainable methods in the Emirate in order to further enhance its position as an environmentally friendly city,” said HE Eng. Yousef Saleh Al Suwaiji, Chairman of the Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (SRTA).
Stressing the fact that the Authority endeavors to provide high standards of sustainability and resource protection, public health, environment preservation and emission reduction, HE Eng. Al Suwaiji added: “The partnership with "ION" is a continuation of the Authority's initiatives towards a sustainable future and the implementation of our plan for the electric transformation in the Authority's fleet operating system. In order to achieve more energy-efficient transportation systems, which contribute to reducing carbon emissions from traditional fuels, the authority also operates 750 hybrid taxis that operate with electricity and gasoline, which contributed to reducing the percentage of pollutants and carbon emissions in Sharjah.”
H.E. Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah and Chairman of ION, said: “ION believes in providing sustainable transportation solutions, from building an accessible EV infrastructure to introducing services that help consumers make choices that lower their personal carbon footprint. Through this partnership with Sharjah RTA, we are combining our expertise with a wider mobility network to help raise a more sustainable quality of life for residents in Sharjah.”
Established to spearhead the provision of accessible and sustainable mobility in the region, ION is a joint venture between Bee’ah and CE-Creates, the business incubation platform of Crescent Enterprises. ION’s services range from first- to last-mile transportation for individual commuters to electric autonomous shuttles and EV charging station infrastructure.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ION’s electric vehicles and drivers were deployed, pro bono, for the quick transport of Sharjah Medical District’s doctors to facilitate home visits and COVID-19 testing around the clock. In addition, ION’s fleet was utilised for medicine logistics services by University Hospital Sharjah for fast and efficient deliveries.
ION is also working to develop the UAE’s infrastructure for mainstream electric vehicle adoption by setting up public charging stations across Sharjah. The company has previously supported Sharjah’s ambitions to develop infrastructure supporting electric vehicle mobility by setting up charging stations across the Emirate. ION is providing next-generation mobility solutions within Masdar City, including a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars for on-demand, ride-hailing services as it expands operations across Abu Dhabi.