DUBAI // The Roads and Transport Authority has signed an agreement with Tesla to buy 200 electric-powered cars. The vehicles will be Model S sedans and Model X SUVs to be added to Dubai Taxi Corporation’s fleet of limousines.

The cars are equipped with a “semi-autonomous” autopilot option, reducing the driver’s work and improving safety. The deal was agreed to at the World Government Summit this week and forms part of Dubai’s plans fora smarter city and green economy. “It is also part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 percent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the board at the RTA. Mr Al Tayer signed the with Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla.

The RTA chief welcomed Tesla’s new office in Dubai, which will be used for distribution and maintenance. “Tesla has been selected for its pioneering endeavours in the manufacturing of electric vehicles,” Mr Al Tayer said. “The company is focused on improvement and creativity in autonomous driving, as well as the storage of power.” Last year, Tesla developed a hybrid system for generating and storing solar energy in its vehicles and broadened its scope to make buses and heavy vehicles.

“It has also improved the autonomous driving systems by migrating from semi-autonomous driving to a fully autonomous driving environment, thus obviating the need fora human driver,” said Mr Al Tayer. The RTA will be carrying out a test run of Tesla’s autonomous electric vehicles as part of the Dubai Taxi limo fleet.