- New operations set to cater to growing demand for sustainable transport across UAE
- Sustainable commercial transport company ION wins contract to manage next-generation mobility solutions within Masdar City
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 18 November 2019: ION, the UAE-based sustainable transport company, has been officially established during an inauguration ceremony attended by Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, and Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah. The company, which was announced in 2018 as a joint venture between Bee’ah and Crescent Enterprises, has now set up operations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
ION is the first ever green mobility solutions provider of its kind in the region, committed to pioneering accessible and sustainable transport in MENA and beyond. A new entrant in a fast-paced and high-growth sector, the company aims to provide smart, effective, carbon-neutral, commercial and public transport solutions, deployed through platforms such as ride-hailing applications, and corporate and government fleets.
In 2018, ION launched a pilot programme in Dubai with ride-hailing service Careem, providing a fleet of Tesla Model S electric vehicles. With the pilot programme successfully completed, the company is now expanding operations to other emirates as part of Bee’ah and Cresecent Enterprises’ vision to revolutionise smart, sustainable transport.
ION’s new operations are set to cater to the growing demand for sustainable transport options across the UAE, including providing next-generation mobility solutions within Masdar City, supported by a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars, with plans to add on-demand services. The company has set up an office within the Masdar Free Zone to help expand green-mobility innovations across Abu Dhabi. Masdar City is a low-carbon development made up of a rapidly growing clean-tech cluster, business free zone and residential neighbourhood with restaurants, shops and public green spaces.
Commenting on the expansion, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, said: “Our partnership with Bee’ah to establish ION stems from our shared vision of environmental sustainability, and aims to support the development of a zero-emission transport system for the UAE and the wider MENA region. We have seen significant shifts in energy policies in recent years in response to economic, social and environmental challenges, and it is vital that the private sector plays its role in this sustainability drive. Setting up offices across the nation marks a milestone in our mission to roll out a fully green fleet management enterprise for the UAE. We aim to expand our operations and redefine transport solutions across the wider region.”
Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, said: “As a quality of life pioneer, Bee’ah has been committed to addressing gaps in all sectors, including transportation. Due to a rise in environmental consciousness, green mobility has become an area of great potential, and ION was initally set up to meet the surge in demands. ION is an extension of a process we started internally, by using a fleet of advanced, eco-friendly vehicles. This fleet of 1200 vehicles is also managed by a digitally enhanced system which uses features like automated route optimization and RFID tagged bins to reduce emissions, optimize fuel consumption and the use of resources like vehicles and people. We have also placed the Middle East’s first and largest order for Tesla’s revolutionary Semi trucks. Through ION, we are making eco-friendly modes of transportation more accessible for residents, improving air quality levels through zero emissions and creating better living standards for people.”
Samer Choucair, Director of CE-Creates, the internal business incubation platform of Crescent Enterprises, said: “ION’s establishment in major hubs across the UAE is only the beginning of a journey we have embarked on to provide sustainable transport solutions for the MENA region, contributing to shaping policies that will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles across the spectrum.”
UAE residents are now able to avail ride-hailing services featuring Tesla Model S vehicles, while Model 3 vehicles will be introduced soon, making ION the first company in the UAE to offer services featuring the Model 3. The company is also exploring the autonomous vehicle space, a sector brimming with potential.
ION aspires to play a prominent role in advancing the electric vehicle sector development agenda, in alignment with the UAE’s mobility ambitions, which seek to bring about a positive change in attitude and behaviour towards the use of sustainable modes of transport. The nation’s strategy also seeks to reduce traffic growth and congestion by encouraging the development of more efficient and sustainable means of transport.
ION also has future plans for providing end-to-end transport solutions; including “first and last-mile” connections – the beginning or end of individual trips made primarily by public transit – and charging stations; transforming the transport network and setting new global benchmarks for green mobility.
Electric mobility is considered an important strategy to tackle climate change and low levels of air quality in cities, and is a fast-emerging growth opportunity for economies. In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million – an increase of 2 million from the previous year.
Electric vehicles typically produce fewer life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles as most emissions are lower for electricity generation than burning gasoline or diesel. All-electric vehicles also produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
Crescent Enterprises is a multinational company headquartered in the UAE. The company operates through four platforms – including CE-Creates, which develops early-stage concepts into socially responsible, economically viable, and scalable businesses. In addition to ION, CE-Creates has so far launched three other businesses in the food and beverage, industrial clothing, and e-commerce sectors.
An innovation leader and a pioneering force for sustainable solutions in the Middle East, Bee’ah is creating a better quality of life for all cities and communities in the MENA region. Based on the twin pillars of sustainability and technology, Bee’ah has developed a comprehensive industry portfolio, which has reaped rich benefits in the form of the region’s highest waste diversion rates, the GCC’s first waste-to-energy plant, and first fully AI integrated office building.
With a phased roll out planned until 2025, the collaborative effort between the two companies will align with the establishment of regulatory frameworks governing the use of electric vehicles in the target markets. ION also aims to embrace a holistic approach and extend beyond electric mobility to include power generation and storage products.
From electric bikes to buses, trucks, and even charging stations, ION is transforming multi-modal, inter-urban, transport networks across the region. Apart from serving individual commuters, the company has also been supporting entities in reducing their environmental impact. ION has already gained a reputation in the market, and was appointed as official transport partner for iconic events in the United Arab Emirates including the Sharjah FDI Forum 2018, the World Future Energy Summit 2019 and the 24th World Energy Congress 2019 hosted by Abu Dhabi.