First Tesla car-share operation in region now operating in Abu Dhabi

Photo: WAM

The UAE-founded "ekar" has announced a partnership with Masdar to bring electric vehicle car-sharing to the Middle East by purchasing five Tesla models S and X for its fleet, with the vehicles available for hire from Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

"Masdar City installed the first rapid charging station for electric vehicles in the Middle East," said Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate at Masdar. "At Masdar, we recognise the value of car-sharing to our community, both economically and in terms of its reduced environmental footprint. Because the ekar platform is scalable, we are looking forward to introducing more electric vehicles into our car-share fleet in the future."

Masdar’s partnership with ekar is part of its investment to promote low-carbon transport solutions in the UAE.

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 purchasing one. After selecting the Tesla model of their choice, users can pick up 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, adding, "Our vision at ekar is to have five percent 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."

ekar uses state-of-the-art instant reservations and smart-access technology, providing a network of vehicles for on-demand rent in the UAE. It 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.