By Colin Simpson www.thenational.ae
DUBAI // Even a Superbus needs some help to travel from Europe to the UAE. The prototype of the 250kph vehicle was loaded onto a KLM cargo plane at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands yesterday.
The sleek midnight-blue bus was due to arrive at Sharjah airport last night, to be shown on Sunday, for the first time in the UAE, at the World Exhibition of the International Association of Public Transport.
If put into commercial production the battery-powered, environmentally friendly vehicle could slash the journey time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to half an hour.
The €7 million (Dh36.7m) project is being developed at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands by a team led by the former astronaut Professor Wubbo Ockels.
The Superbus designer, Antonia Terzi, who previously worked in Formula One, said “the Superbus will tackle the challenges of mobility, spatial planning, service detail and environmental demands all in one”.
The development team has produced a video showing how the Superbus would travel from the capital to Dubai, setting off on standard roads before switching to a high-speed track and accelerating to 250kph.
Nearing Dubai, it would then slow down and return to the existing road network to reach its destination.
The 15-metre bus has room for 23 passengers, who would enter and leave through eight gull-wing doors on each side.
In February The National revealed that the project was being discussed by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
The exhibition, which is being hosted by the authority, will run from Sunday until April 14 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.