Tesla is bringing its electric cars to the heart of the oil-producing world.
The automaker announced Monday that its first official Middle East venture will be in the United Arab Emirates.
The first cars, the Model S and Model X, will hit the road this summer.
“Now seems like the right time to make a significant debut in this region, starting with Dubai,” You’re here ( said CEO Elon Musk at the World Government Summit in Dubai. )
Tesla owners will have access to two existing charging stations in the UAE, and Telsa plans to open five more by the end of the year.
Despite having huge oil and gas reserves, the UAE has ambitious plans to go green. Last month, it announced it would invest $163 billion to boost the use of alternative energy over the next three decades.
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This is the latest in a series of expansion announcements for Tesla. Last week, Musk hinted that Tesla could soon come to India.
Musk also teased plans building “heavy truck and high passenger density urban transport” as well as developing a ride-sharing network, which could be similar to Uber.
Speaking in Dubai, the entrepreneur outlined the future of robotics.
“We will see autonomy and artificial intelligence advance enormously,” Musk said. “In probably 10 years, it will be very unusual to build cars that are not fully autonomous.”
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But he also warned of the “disruptive” nature of autonomous vehicles.
“This disruption I’m talking about will happen over about 20 years. Yet 20 years is a short time for about 12 to 15 percent of the workforce to be unemployed.”
Musk said governments need to pay close attention to artificial intelligence, create sustainable transportation and be wary of mass unemployment.
“This will be a huge social challenge. Ultimately we have to think about a universal basic income. I don’t think we have a choice,” he said. “There will be fewer and fewer tasks that a robot cannot do better.”
–Seth Fiegerman contributed reporting.
CNNMoney (Dubai) First published February 13, 2017: 11:06 a.m. ET