July 10, 2008

GM hybrid fleet rolls out in oil-rich Dubai

In a deal with General Motors, the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority has begun a year-long field test of five Chevrolet Malibu and five Chevrolet Tahoe hybrids.

Despite being flush with oil reserves, the agency has expressed interest in cutting their operating costs and pursuing more ecologically conscious means of transport. GM was the first manufacturer to respond to a global invitation issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, then ruler of Dubai.

Maktoum currently serves as vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The primary goal of the test fleet is to see how the hybrid drivetrains — and the batteries in particular — respond to the extreme climate in the Middle East. Information gathered from the test fleet will help GM engineers determine a "real-time expectation for the batteries" lifespan in such extreme heat.

Emissions and fuel economy will also be monitored.

The Dubai RTA currently operates 6,000 vehicles and has announced that it will replace its entire fleet with more fuel-efficient models, pending the outcome of this and other trial programs.


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