With the “whish” of a passing Formula 1 race car, and an almost silent “whrr” of its rear mounted electric engine, the new Dutch engineered 23 passenger Superbus amazed spectators during a test run at Abu Dhabi’s futuristic Masdar City, reports The National. The 15 meter-long all electric vehicle appeared to be very maneuverable despite its length and its being able to reach speeds at over 200 kmh. Antonia Terzi, a former Formula 1 aerodynamics designer who was involved in designing the Superbus prototype told a reporter for The National: “It drives like a car. After a couple of laps you forget you have 15 metres behind you. It’s really, really responsive and it drives really, really nicely.”
She added that the electricity used to charge up the cars lithium battery packs came from a new solar energy plant making it “the first time we could close the (power source) loop.”
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s futuristic carbon neutral city project, was a perfect backdrop for the test which was done on a special track that looped around the still under construction project. When completed, Masdar City will include a number of sustainable transportation vehicle innovations, including special electrical powered “pod” driverless commuter vehicles.
Driver-less ” Pod Car”
The specially designed Superbus, or “super-limo” as many people prefer to call it, is designed to carry up to 23 passengers in a much higher grade of comfort; like they can expect when traveling in a posh limousine.
It is also intended to be able to carry passengers in the 124 km (74 mile) distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in only half an hour instead of the present 90 to 110 minutes by bus.
Being all electric, and almost noiseless, it can pick up passengers at their homes and then complete the journey by traveling at speeds of up to 250 kmh (150mph) on a special track.
White gold Mercedes coupe
Being still in the R & D phase, costs of the vehicle have still not been determined. The UAE is no stranger to expensive and exotic cars. These range from white gold plated Mercedes sports coups to total electric sports cars such as those made by America’s Tesla Motors company, that recently created interest in UAE investors by launching its first IPO offering.
Tesla all-electric roadster
Whether Superbus catches on the UAE or elsewhere (including neighboring Saudi Arabia) will depend on the car’s final cost and the construction of the infrastructure needed for the special road track and for recharging the car’s batteries.
Although the car is not well suited for transport within a location like Masdar City, it is a good solution for inter-city transport. The distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is well within the range of a full battery charge. Longer distances, such as that between Riyadh and Jeddah (846.24 kilometers or 525.83 miles) in Saudi Arabia appear to be too far, however. A car switch during a toilet break could solve the problem.
Read more on UAE and other Mid East automotive news:
White Gold UAE Mercedes Sports Coup Drives on Bio Fuel
Masdar’s Futuristic Eco-Pod-Car Has Arrived
Tesla Motors IPO Races Through Abu Dhabi, but is the EV Practical?
Solar Powered Cars Go Round the World – and in Palestine