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155mph 'Superbus' heading for the Middle East?

155mph 'Superbus' heading for the Middle East?

Posting in Cities

Is the Dutch Superbus's future in Dubai?

Public transport can cause certain scenarios to spring to mind; dusty windows, stained seats and constant traffic jams which require stuttered excuses to the boss when you end up late for work.

But, to be honest, I probably wouldn't mind so much if public transport looked like this.

The futuristic vehicle, which boasts a maximum speed of 155 miles per hour and can provide seating for 23 people, is a unique 50-foot long bus. The Dutch creation is constructed from carbon fiber and fiberglass, and it is powered by a lithium-ion electric motor system.

Envisioned by Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels and engineered by Antonia Terzi -- former chief aerodynamicist of the BMW-Williams Formula 1 team -- the vehicle cost approximately $17 million to develop and three years to construct.

As SmartPlanet's Tuan C. Nguyen previously reported, the original idea was conceived as an alternative to trains -- which can be slow and are always limited to designated areas. Secure yourself a top engineer from Formula one, and this superbus is the result.

According to Clean Technica, Terzi said:

“The superbus will tackle the challenges of mobility, spatial planning, service detail and environmental demands all in one.”

It's hard to imagine that any city would actually buy a fleet of these buses; just because a bus can go up to 155 MPH doesn’t mean it will ever get the chance to stretch its legs (could you imagine a hurtling juggernaut containing screaming schoolkids thundering through Soho at 155mph?) -- at least, in the West. But the Middle East may have other ideas.

The Dutch "Superbus" made its world debut at a trade fair in Dubai last month. Although the Dutch government is reported to have lost interest in the project – potentially because of the sheer expense involved – other reports have suggested that potentially this unique transport's future may be to shuttle people back and forth between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the future.

It may be little more than a gimmick -- albeit a heart-stopping expensive one -- but reports have indicated that the vehicle has now been flown to the United Arab Emirates where it will be used by a sheikh to complete the 75-mile commute from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in under 30 minutes.

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure