Back in 2008, Abu Dhabi proved to be a competitive ‘playground’ for futuristic but eco-friendly transport. In eager aims to test-drive their new inventions Masdar City is one of the hot locations chosen to host the Pod car. Masdar City itself is almost entirely powered by renewable energy and heralded by UAE’s sheikhs as the hope for greener living. The Pod car, or Personal Rapid Transit, is the most energy-efficient, urban mass transit system to date, which is also an economic and a fully-automated alternative to the current public transport systems.
The pods consist of small and light vehicles that run on an electric monorail-like track with the strength to carry up to ten people.
Why Is It So Damn Cool?
There are many benefits to the Pod car and no doubt for the past few years, many companies have pushed to deploy this cleantech gadget.
The capsules (PRT pods) are created by Dutch company 2GetThere, with extremely lightweight materials, making them cheaper to build and power. Running on electricity (lithium-phosphate batteries) the PRT is fast and consumes the least energy of all transport. Plus, as a totally automated vehicle it will result in lower operating costs.
As of now, there are a handful of the PRT pods transporting the growing community between the two pod stations who currently live in Masdar.
Europe has expressed a keen interest for PRT transport, with Sweden planning to use the Pod system in over a dozen cities and be fossil-fuel free by 2020 (PSFK). Here in the UK, we’re still waiting for London to unveil their pod transport system within Heathrow Airport, which will shuttle visitors between car parks and terminals using the ULTra system.
Check out Treehugger’s video explaining how the PRT pods operate on a dual system of fibre optic cables and magnetic rails.
More on Masdar and Transport:
Masdar City: Just a Playground For The Rich
Re-assessing Masdar City
Masdar And The Dicey Science of Carbon Credits
Why Don’t Cars Last Forever? Tips On Greening Your Ride