Innovating right up until the end of 2018, Dubai’s just launched a hybrid abra.
The emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched a test run of the solar-powered marine transport.
Powered by a 20-kilowatt electric motor, it can carry 20 riders. Although it looks like the traditional abra we’re so familiar with, the important difference is up above. On the abra’s roof are 26 lead crystal batteries and solar energy panels. No danger of being left drifting, as there’s also a standby generator to recharge batteries when they’re running low in power.
If batteries overheat, the hybrid abra also has a firefighting system that automatically activates. Probably the feature we’re most excited about – there are also USB ports for recharging phones.
Catch it during a trial period on the Al Seef-Al Ghubaiba line between Al Seef, Baniyas, Dubai Old Souq, and Al Ghubaiba marine transport stations. The fare will be AED 2 each way.
Cool facts – the hybrid abra’s emissions are 87 per cent lower than petrol-powered abras. It uses 172 per cent less fuel and saves 134 per cent on fuel costs. Operational and maintenance costs are 83 per cent lower than traditional abras and it’s also a lot quieter.
The eco-friendly abra’s launch marks the first hybrid marine transit joining the RTA’s marine transport fleet. On its inaugural ride, Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the RTA, also revealed plans to build 11 new marine transport stations around Dubai by 2020 and open new lines at Dubai Creek, Jumeirah Beach, New Islands, and the Dubai Water Canal as well as launching a ferry service between Dubai and Sharjah.