It was just a few months ago that Dubai approved plans that envision up to 25 per cent of total journeys in the emirate being smart or driverless transport by 2030. Now, officials have made announcements that could further transform the city’s motoring landscape by offering a host of incentives to owners of electric cars.

On Sunday, Dubai declared its goal of having up to 42,000 electric cars on its roads by 2030, out of which it expects a good 32,000 to ply its streets by 2020. And to jumpstart this transformation, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will jointly offer electric vehicle buyers free charging of their cars at Dewa-approved stations until 2019, free parking at designated areas in Dubai, free vehicle registration and waiver on renewal fees as well as a free Salik tag upon registration. EV owners will also get a licence plate sticker that will distinguish their cars from others and let them avail of these incentives. With these inducements, officials expect electric car sales to go up considerably and make up a reasonably high portion of vehicles registered in Dubai by 2030.

As part of its Dubai Green Mobility initiative, the Supreme Council of Energy had earlier issued a directive for all government organisations that at least 2 per cent of their vehicle purchases must be hybrid or electric vehicles from 2016 to 2020 and up to 10 per cent by 2030. Before announcing the free charging offer, Dubai Government had set the tariff for charging electric vehicles by Green Chargers at a cost price of 29 fils per kilowatt hour, which, according to its estimates, would cost the owner of a small electric car just Dh7 to cover 130 kilometres. But even that’s been waived under the new directive.

The RTA has already mobilised its efforts to go green by entering into a deal with Tesla for 200 electric vehicles, and setting itself a target of making half of all Dubai taxis electric by 2021.