13 June 2012, 09:19 BST
The saga of the Dutch "Superbus" has gone from impossible idea to road-going proof-of-concept in just a short few years. The all-electric Superbus is the answer to a question nobody asked, namely how do we make buses more fun? With a top-speed of 155 mph and an all-electric drivetrain, the Dutch-built Superbus may soon find a home in the unlikeliest of places; the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.
The six-wheeled Superbus, which has attained street-legal status in the UAE, may soon be integrated into the desert nation's transportation network. Aimed at wealthy business people who prefer to stay on the ground, the 45-foot Superbus can transport up to 23 people, each of whom gets their own plush seat and work station.
Supposedly, the UAE will build a lane just for the high-speed buses alongside its regular highways. The Superbuswill have enough range to make the trip between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on a single charge, and the abundance of sunshine in the UAE will allow solar charging to make the Superbus carbon neutral. Best of all, the high top speed of 155 mph will mean the 75-mile journey takes just 30 minutes. That's fast, and you can bet it won't be cheap.
Is this the future of public transportation? Perhaps for the super-wealthy, although I don't see an idea like this ever taking hold in America; we just don't care for public transportation, and Europe is too cramped to take advantage of the Superbus's high speeds. Then again two years ago the Superbus was just a student-conceived concept. But the flat desert plains of the Arabian peninsula might be the perfect place for these electric buses to gain a foothold. And from there, who knows?
Source: The National | Picture: Delores Johnson/The National