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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Sharjah company buys 50 Tesla electric trucks in first for region

Environmental management company Bee'ah places order for fleet of battery-powered semis as it pushes to cut environmental impact

Bee'ah has bought 50 of Tesla's new electric trucks. Alexandria Sage / Reuters
Bee'ah has bought 50 of Tesla's new electric trucks. Alexandria Sage / Reuters

Sharjah-based Bee’ah, the region’s fastest-growing environmental management company, will buy 50 Tesla Semi heavy duty electric trucks – the first and largest fleet of the newly unveiled vehicle in the Middle East – the company said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

“Sustainability is at the very core of what we do, and the pursuit of this feeds into every level of our organisation. That is why we have made this investment in our transportation fleet, which occurs with a view towards a larger goal – achieving the objectives of the National Agenda for UAE Vision 2021," said Khaled Al Huraimel, the group chief executive of Bee’ah.

The organisation placed the order automotive brand’s revolutionary all-electric trucks immediately after their launch on November 16. As the company also eyes ambitious regional expansion, a larger transport fleet will ensure the new operational demands can be met.

The incoming Tesla Semis, which enter production in 2019, will primarily be used for waste collection and transportation, including transport of materials for recycling. They will also add to Bee’ah’s fleet of vehicles, which total over 1,000 today.

By using the new Tesla Semi trucks alongside the existing vehicles, those that run on compressed natural gas and on bio diesel, Bee’ah’s modernised fleet will continue to make a significant contribution to reducing the company’s carbon footprint, the firm said, in addition to its fleet of boats that use solar energy while cleaning lakes and water bodies.

The 50-truck purchase from Tesla is the first phase of the company’s transition to a fully eco-friendly fleet. Bee’ah is working on other future partnerships such as with some US based companies specialised in transforming diesel-powered vehicles into electric ones that will allow the company to get rid of all vehicles that run on dieseland contribute to better air quality on the country's roads, it said.

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Launched in California by Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk, the new truck will provide Bee’ah’s logistics operation with vehicles capable of travelling 805 kilometres on a single charge. Running on battery power, the trucks are guaranteed for 1.6 million km of usable life, while carrying 36,287 kilogrammes of cargo.

The base price of the 865km-range model costs US$180,000 in the United States, according to Mashable, almost double the base price of a traditional diesel Semi truck. That would means a 50-strong fleet without discounts would come in at around $9 million (Dh33m). According to CostOwl, traditional Semi trucks start at about $80,000, but can cost as much as $150,000.

“We are extremely pleased to turn towards Tesla for a solution that enhances our leadership of sustainable practices in the region. As a company that strives to be the best in our field, we only work with partners that we consider to be the best in theirs,” said Salim Al Owais, the chairman of Bee’ah, which was founded in 2007. “Through this latest investment, we hope to demonstrate to others the value and importance of seeking out better, more viable ways of achieving our business aims, all for the greater good of our communities.”

The firm's involvement with Tesla is not its first. Recently, the organisation made a major investment with Tesla to fit the company’s world-leading Powerpack battery technology at Bee’ah’s state-of-the-art net zero energy headquarter complex, which is under construction. The Tesla batteries will store solar energy to power the building, and any excess electricity generated will be fed directly into Sharjah’s main power supply grid.

“Bee’ah’s investment in Tesla’s Semi trucks and its Powerpack battery technology is a further example of our quest to take a holistic approach to environmental management, stretching far beyond waste management," said Mr Al Owais.

"Earlier this year, we announced the launch of a new company, EvoTeq, and signed two new business agreements as part of an investment in technology aimed at improving the lives of people living in the UAE.”

The new Tesla trucks also signify another step forward in Bee’ah’s push towards innovative tech-based solutions. Autonomous technology will enable multiple Tesla Semis to "platoon" – that is to travel in convoy with just the lead truck digitally controlling the others. In addition, on-board sensors will detect instability during travel, and automatically make adjustments to vehicle torque and braking to prevent dangerous "jackknifing".