Drivers using ekar’s car sharing app can now hop into a Tesla S or X at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

The initiative between ekar and Masdar is the first electric vehicle car-sharing scheme in the Middle East with five Tesla models S and X into the fleet.

“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, 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.”

“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.”

ekar users can access instant reservations to a network of vehicles – including the new EVs – for on-demand rent in the UAE via its mobile app and website. The firm offers a ‘pay-by-the-use’ pricing scheme that it claims is “a cost-effective alternative to daily and monthly renting”.

“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,” explained the company in a statement.

“We are honoured to have been selected as the strategic car-share partner of Masdar at Masdar City,” added Vilhelm Hedberg, CEO, 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. 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.”