Tuesday, 4 October 2011

World’s First ‘Super Bus'

Room for one more? World’s first ‘super bus’ can take 23 passengers but looks more like a Lamborghini (and boasts a top speed of 155mph)

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You might be waiting a while for one of these to pull up at the local bus stop.

This is the world's first super bus, crafted with state-of-the-art materials which seats 23 passengers and had a top speed of 155mph (250kmh).

Developed in Holland by an astronaut and a former Formula One aerodynamics expert, the midnight-blue, electric-powered vehicle costs £7million and was flown to the United Arab Emirates where it will be used by a sheikh.

The hi-tech bus means he will be able to complete the 75-mile commute from Dubai to neighbouring Abu Dhabi in under 30 minutes.

Made of lightweight materials including aluminium, carbon fibre, fibreglass and polycarbonate, it is 49ft long (15 metres), 8ft wide (2.5 metres) and 5ft 5in high (1.65 metres).

Passengers will be able to enjoy comfort equal to that of a luxury limousine or private jet. The super bus has eight gullwing-style doors on each side to allow for a swift exit.

It has been developed at the Delft University of Technology in Holland under the direction of Professor Wubbo Ockels who in 1985 became the first Dutchman in space when he was part of the team on board the space shuttle Challenger.

The project was backed by the Dutch government, American chemicals company Dow and the Saudi conglomerate Sabic.

The first commercial interest came from the UAE where the super bus was flown in a jumbo jet.

It was tested for the first time on ordinary roads around Abu Dhabi Airport, its batteries fired up by solar power.

The wealthy owner of the super bus plans to travel on normal roads and at normal speeds in the region while it picks up passengers in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
SUPER SPECIFICATIONS

Length: 49ft (15 metres)

Height: 5ft 5in (1.65 metres)

Breadth: 8ft (2 metres)

Top speed: 155mph (250kmh)

Seating: 23

Cost: £7 million

However once it leaves the city, the vehicle is able to switch to a dedicated concrete track which runs parallel to the motorway and accelerate to a cruising speed of around 150mph.

As it approaches its destination, it would once again slow to rejoin the ordinary road network.

Project designer Antonia Terzi, former chief aerodynamics expert at the BMW Williams Formula One team, made the first test drive in Abu Dhabi.

She said it drove 'just like a car', thanks to two sets of manoeuvrable rear wheels which helps it around corners. If the super bus went into service, there would be no set routes or schedules.

Ms Terzi said: 'Commuters would book online or with their mobile phone and one of a fleet of buses would pick them up and drop them wherever they wanted.'

Abu Dhabi ’s traffic police chief Brigadier General Hussein al Harethi said: 'Electrically-powered vehicles like this would not only alleviate traffic congestion but reduce air pollution. Electric vehicles are the transportation methods of today and we want to see more of them.'

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority director Peyman Younes Parham added: 'It’s a brilliant idea. It’s not something we could use as a public transportation vehicle but it would be a great driver for executive commuting and for tourism.'

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