Sustainable transport company, ION, has formally commenced operations in the UAE.

ION describes itself as the first ever green mobility solutions provider of its kind in the region and is intent on offering accessible and sustainable transport in MENA and beyond.

Soft-launched in 2018 as a joint venture between Bee’ah and Crescent Enterprises, it has now formally set up operations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah where it will provide smart, effective, carbon-neutral, commercial and public transport solutions.

Corporate and government fleet customers can now use its ride-hailing applications to access the service.

The firm says it is planning a phased roll-out until 2025 which will eventually include the operation of electric bikes, buses, trucks, and even charging stations.

For now, ION’s will mobility solutions include a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars, with plans to add on-demand services in Masdar City.

It is also expanding its ride-hailing association with Careem, where it provides a fleet of Tesla Model S electric vehicles. Initially launched in Dubai last year, the service is now expanding operations to other emirates as part of “Bee’ah and Cresecent Enterprises’ vision to revolutionise smart, sustainable transport.”

ION also has future plans for providing end-to-end transport solutions; including “first and last-mile” connections – the beginning or end of individual trips made primarily by public transit – and charging stations; transforming the transport network and setting new global benchmarks for green mobility.

“ION is transforming multi-modal, inter-urban, transport networks across the region. Apart from serving individual commuters, the company has also been supporting entities in reducing their environmental impact,” said the company in a statement.

In 2018, ION launched a pilot programme in Dubai with ride-hailing service Careem, providing a fleet of Tesla Model S electric vehicles. With the pilot programme successfully completed, the company is now expanding operations to other emirates as part of Bee’ah and Cresecent Enterprises’ vision to revolutionise smart, sustainable transport.

The firm was formally established during an inauguration ceremony attended by Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, and Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah.

“Our partnership with Bee’ah to establish ION stems from our shared vision of environmental sustainability, and aims to support the development of a zero-emission transport system for the UAE and the wider MENA region,” said Badr Jafar, CEO, Crescent Enterprises. “We have seen significant shifts in energy policies in recent years in response to economic, social and environmental challenges, and it is vital that the private sector plays its role in this sustainability drive.

“Setting up offices across the nation marks a milestone in our mission to roll out a fully green fleet management enterprise for the UAE. We aim to expand our operations and redefine transport solutions across the wider region.”

Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Bee’ah, added: “As a quality of life pioneer, Bee’ah has been committed to addressing gaps in all sectors, including transportation. Due to a rise in environmental consciousness, green mobility has become an area of great potential, and ION was initally set up to meet the surge in demands.

“ION is an extension of a process we started internally, by using a fleet of advanced, eco-friendly vehicles. This fleet of 1200 vehicles is also managed by a digitally enhanced system which uses features like automated route optimisation and RFID tagged bins to reduce emissions, optimize fuel consumption and the use of resources like vehicles and people.

“We have also placed the Middle East’s first and largest order for Tesla’s revolutionary Semi trucks. Through ION, we are making eco-friendly modes of transportation more accessible for residents, improving air quality levels through zero emissions and creating better living standards for people.”

Samer Choucair, director of CE-Creates, the internal business incubation platform of Crescent Enterprises, said ION’s establishment in major hubs across the UAE is only the beginning of a journey to provide sustainable transport solutions for the MENA region. He added he hopes ION can “contribute to shaping policies that will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles across the spectrum.”

The company is also exploring the autonomous vehicle space, a sector it describes as “brimming” with potential: “ION aspires to play a prominent role in advancing the electric vehicle sector development agenda, in alignment with the UAE’s mobility ambitions, which seek to bring about a positive change in attitude and behaviour towards the use of sustainable modes of transport. The nation’s strategy also seeks to reduce traffic growth and congestion by encouraging the development of more efficient and sustainable means of transport.