Superbus signposts new route for UAE commuters

Commercial Vehicles Conference turns spotlight on shape of things to ‎come in sustainable travel - a 250 kmh cross between bus and limo

Dubai, UAE, February, 2011: Business executives could be commuting between Abu ‎Dhabi and Dubai in the near future aboard an electric-powered Superbus taking them to ‎their destination in comfort as fast as a high-speed train.‎

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.‎

The conference runs alongside the Commercial Vehicles Middle East exhibition ‎‎(, taking place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition ‎Centre from March 14-16, bringing together the largest annual gathering of transport, fleet ‎and logistics decision makers from every sector of the region's road transport business.

Among a panel of industry experts speaking at the conference, Terzi, the Italian former ‎chief aerodynamicist of the BMW-Williams Formula 1 team, says an intelligent routing ‎system is another key Superbus feature.‎

"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.‎




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