Is Superbus the future of public transport?


By Atika Shubert

(CNN) — Richard Branson loves it, says Wubbo Ockels, former astronaut and creator of the super-fast, super-long Superbus.

And he’s not the only one.

“We’ve had interest from Las Vegas. We also had interest from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Netherlands,” Ockels said.

The 15 meter-long (50 feet) Superbus is a new spin on public transport that aims to match the speed and comfort of a train while offering the flexibility and convenience of the car.

It has a top speed of 250 kph (155 mph) and Ockels envisions it running on a dedicated highway. But it’s not just high-speed transport from A to B, Ockels says — the Superbus can also use normal roads at normal speeds.

What’s more, it’s powered by electricity, which was central to the vision of its chief designer Antonia Terzi.

“What inspired me was the concept that it was a sustainable, new type of transport,” Terzi said.

“Public transport has to be exciting. You want to say ‘well, I have a car but today I’m going to take the Superbus instead,'” she added.

A former Formula One aerodynamicist, Terzi has incorporated hydraulic cylinders in the design so that the car can sit just 7cm off the ground when traveling at high speed, rising to a height of 43cm when it uses normal roads in towns and cities.

Rear-wheel steering helps the Superbus achieve a 24-meter turning circle, going easily around a roundabout, says Terzi. More info and photos