Archive for February, 2016

hybrid taxi dubai

Dubai is implementing some major, revolutionary transportation infrastructure changes in their city, and seem to be ready to start implementing radical new ways of doing things just short of 3D printing their cars. According to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), half of Dubai’s taxi fleet will be hybrid vehicles by 2021.

Dubai’s current taxi fleet numbers around 150 hybrids, but that number is expected to rise up to 4,750 in the next five years.

The hybrids will be powered by a combination of electricity and petrol and run off of self-charging electric motors when driven within a speed of 40km/h. When it speeds up past that point, the engine will shift back to petrol.

A hybrid taxi will create 30% less carbon emissions.

This move is all part of larger plan to reduce carbon emissions resulting from taxis by 2 percent, according to Matter Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA. The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy recently required the decrease.

The decision was also prompted by the low life cycle cost of hybrid vehicles in comparison with normal vehicles, plus the recent deregulation of fuel prices.

hybrid taxi“The plan encompasses beefing up the fleet of hybrid taxicabs in Dubai from 147 in 2015 to 791 in 2016, 1,582 in 2017, 2,375 in 2018, 3,167 in 2019, 3,959 in 2020 and to further increase the number to 4,750 hybrid taxicabs by 2021,” stated Al Tayer.

Most of this fleet will be operated by Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC), a large subsidiary of RTA that will own over 2,000 cabs. Cars Taxi will own 900 cabs and National Taxi will own 812. Arabia Taxi will have 463 cabs, Metro Taxi will have 377 cabs, and City Taxi will have 18.

“RTA is endeavoring to bring about a quantum shift in the infrastructure of mass transit systems to make them environment-friendly, and accommodate the rising demand for transit means in the emirate,” Al Tayer continued.

RTA was the first company in the Dubai region to attempt to introduce hybrid vehicles into taxi fleets in 2008.

“Results of the trial operation of hybrid taxis conducted by DTC since 2008 indicated that they help reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent, slashing fuel consumption by 33 percent, besides cutting maintenance costs due to the low mechanical faults, and curbing noise levels,” Al Tayer explained.

The RTA has a lot to gain from continuing with this kind of momentum; an RTA study showed that replacing all taxi cabs in Dubai with hybrid cabs would actually reduce carbon emissions by 230,000 tonnes per annum. That means a savings of Dh170 million.

The hybrid taxi initiative is only one part of a multi pronged effort on the part of the RTA to reduce Dubai’s carbon footprint and unnecessary resource use.

rta dubaiLast year, the RTA initiated a trial run of an electric-powered bus that is operated through rechargeable batteries that need less then half an hour to regain fully charged status. A fully charged battery can transport the bus and its passengers up to 200 km.

The RTA has also introduced CNG-powered abras which are slowly phasing out diesel-powered abras on Dubai Creek. LED street lighting is yet another example of their eco-friendly revisions to Dubai infrastructure, reducing the carbon footprint by more than 3,000 tonnes per annum.

According to the RTA, by 2030 they plan to replace all street lights with LED lights, something that would reduce the carbon footprint of the RTA’s operations by 27,000 mega tonnes of carbon.

hydroplaningEver driven on a wet road and spun out, or seen another car spin out? It’s likely you just witnessed a car hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when a car slides on a thin layer of water located between the tires and the pavement, at least in the context of this article.

Quicknote: hydroplaning is also used to describe the way that DJ’s apply slight pressure to a spinning record in order dos low it down without stopping it or creating a real scratch. The term also refers to a difference in friction, but this time it occurs between the DJ’s fingers and a record. The result is a bass-y, friction-y sound that many DJ’s call “rubber”. But that’s another matter.

So say you’re driving on a wet road and suddenly you realize that your tires are slipping instead of rolling. Don’t worry, the situation is manageable provided you don’t freak out too much. Just hold the steering wheel firm and don’t oversteer, slam on the brakes, or make any sudden movements at all except to take your foot off the gas.

Point straight ahead, or steer just enough to keep the car driving forward/away from any oncoming obstructions or cars. Your car’s tires should regain traction momentarily.

It can help if, before the situation occurs, you see if your vehicle has something called anti-lock brakes. You can ask your mechanic, or just check in your owner’s manual. You could also probably google your car’s model and year and anti-lock brakes? and see what it says.

Now say you don’t have a anti-lock brakes and you hydroplane and you are close to an obstruction or vehicle, and you’re heading straight towards it. Pump your breaks lightly and rapidly until you gain traction.

dynamic hydroplaningIf you do have anti-lock brakes, you can brake in a normal fashion during a hydroplaning incident; just don’t brake too hard. The vehicle’s computer will then mimic the pumping action for you. So long as your vehicle’s tires have some kind of contact with the road, you should begin to slow and regain control.

One quick note; if your car has cruise control capabilities (most do), be sure to not use them if you’re driving in a rainstorm. Some have said that a vehicle that’s hydroplaning while in cruise control mode will actually accelerate, which is of course, extremely dangerous. The logic behind the assertion is that cruise control requires that you hit the brakes to disarm it, but you’re not supposed to immediately hit the brakes while hydroplaning. That said, experts have yet to come up with a case in which an accident was caused by cruise-control-affected hydroplaning.

Cautious drivers will be happy to hear that hydroplaning is much less common than it once was, mostly due to the way that highway engineers have compensated for its risks. Material choices, building specifications and cross slope engineering (building highways so that they travel in the direction perpendicular to that of the main slope) makes it possible for water to drain from highways more effectively.