Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Superbus wows Capital with looks, if not speed

The superfast vehicle was at a snail’s pace on Monday as it trudged only up to 40kmph — a far cry from its top speed of 250kmph. Yet, the black beauty that is hyped to change the highway travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in future stole the hearts of the spectators who witnessed its first trial run at Masdar City.

It was a thrilling moment for the spectators and the officials when the vehicle, expected to cut the travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 30 minutes, was put in motion on the roads at the Masdar Institute. Some felt it was reminiscent of lightning speed cars in animated movies.

Recharged for the first time at the solar-powered stations in Masdar City, the prototype of the soundless Superbus was stylishly driven around by a female member of the Superbus team as the members of the media and others followed it during the first-ever test run in the UAE. However, anxious commuters waiting to make use of the luxury service will have to wait more to know about the official launch of the Superbus on Abu Dhabi-Dubai roads as the officials concerned did not reveal it.

They said the eco-friendly prototype bus, which is electrically powered with a 1,000-1,200kg rechargeable battery pack, was recharged overnight on Sunday after it was welcomed at Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable developments.

At 15 metres in length and 2.5 metres in width, the six-wheel, 12-door and lightweight structure, with a low drag shape that is stable and controllable at high speed, has similar dimensions to a conventional bus. But due to the seating arrangement without a centre aisle, the height is just 1.7 metres, explained chief vehicle designer Antonia Terzi who drove the bus around Masdar City. The vehicle has a seating capacity of 23 people including the driver.

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