Carrying 23 passengers at 250 kmh on a dedicated “speed track”, this cross-over between a bus and a limousine is seen by its European designers as the shape of things to come in sustainable transport.
They will spotlight the Superbus project at next month’s Commercial Vehicles Conference in Dubai. The idea is that it could become the choice of travel for business commuters between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Superbus is the brainchild of a design team at TU Delft University of Technology in Holland. It has been dubbed the “Dutch solution” to the three ills of public transportation: congestion, pollution, and safety.
“The Superbus will tackle the challenges of mobility, spatial planning, service detail and environmental demands all in one,” said chief designer Antonia Terzi, who will highlight the Superbus in her address on sustainable mobility at the Commercial Vehicles Conference.
Offering the convenience of a car, the Superbus is 15 meters long and has eight doors on each side. It would run on a dedicated two-lane highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and leave the “speed track” in urban areas to drop off passengers at agreed locations.
Powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries, the 530bhp carbon fibre vehicle is similar in length and width to a public bus, but with the height of a conventional SUV. The Superbus, which uses rear wheel steering, boasts high maneuverability, formidable breaking power and safety based on the use of advanced radar and electronic obstacle detection systems.
The Superbus project is backed by the Dutch government as well as ten sponsors and 56 suppliers. A business study carried out by the Dutch government for a high speed connection between Amsterdam and Groningen in the north of Holland found the Superbus concept to be the best option in terms of infrastructure costs, impact on the environment and passenger numbers.
The Dutch designers, who plan to present the project to government authorities in UAE, will use the Commercial Vehicles Conference to build interest from a major audience of industry buyers.
“Superbus does not have a fixed schedule,” she explained. “Commuters book online or with their mobile phone, and the bus picks them up and drops them at their desired location.”
The first Superbus road tests took place in Holland last September. Although no feasibility studies have been done yet for the Abu Dhabi-Dubai route, the similar Amsterdam-Groningen route has been studied by the Dutch government, with other high speed connection routes currently under evaluation for several other countries around the world.