High-Speed ‘Superbus’ Aims to Disrupt Personal Transport Industry
The Superbus project is an ambitious attempt to disrupt the personal transport industry. This new concept in sustainable mobility consists of: a new electronically powered vehicle capable of cruising speeds in excess of 250 km/h (155 mph), new dedicated infrastructure (such as a dedicated lane on highways), and new logistics via a central routing optimization system.
While hard to pinpoint, some have suggested the Superbus is somewhere between a regular bus and a train. It’s advantage over the former is that it’s capable of vastly higher speeds and greater flexibility, not confined to a rigid schedule or route. As for the latter, infrastructure and implementation is cheaper and does not require the need for changeovers from target to destination. The Superbus’s promise of demand-dependent-door-to-door transportation is a feature neither bus or train has.
Below you will find a brief overview of this interesting concept along with images and additional specs on this new class of vehicle.
The Superbus Team
The project is led by Wubbo Ockels, the Netherlands’ first astronaut and a professor of aerospace sustainable engineering and technology at TU-Delft. Along with two other key people, the three head up the Superbus research and development team.
Prof.dr. Wubbo Ockels
First Dutchman in space and now full professor at TU Delft and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. At TU Delft he heads the ASSET chair (AeroSpace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology). Within the project he has the role of General Manager
Dr. ing. Antonia Terzi
Italian designer with a Formula 1 background. She used to be the chief aerodynamicist of the BMW-Williams Formula 1 team. Antonia holds the position of Chief Vehicle Designer. Next to that she is assistant professor in the ASSET chair.
Joris Melkert MSc
Aerospace engineer and now assistant professor in the ASSET chair. He has been involved in several aircraft development projects as well in the development of NUNA 3, the fastest solar car on earth. He is in charge of logistics and infrastructure matters.
The Superbus Vehicle
– The Superbus is made of carbon fiber and has an electric motor (battery powered)
– It seats up to 20 passengers in a luxury setting, with 16 gull-wing doors for easy entrance
– Has a cruising speed of 255 km/h (155 mph)
– Contains an obstacle detection system using radar equipment and a fast responding electronic guidance system
– Has undergone significant testing and features high manoeuvrability and formidable breaking power
– Developed in the Netherlands
Above and below are images of the ‘Mule’ used for testing
The Superbus Technical Specifications
Power train: Electric motors powered by lithium polymer battery pack and regenerative braking
Power output: 400 kW
Driving range: 210 km
Braking: 250-0 km/h in less than 200m
Cruising speed: 250 km/h (155 mph)
Length: 15,000 mm (49.21 ft)
Width: 2,550 mm (8.20 ft)
Height: 1,650 mm (5.41 ft)
Weight: 10,500 kg fully loaded
Suspension: Air springs and frequency selective dampers system and lifting hydraulic cilinders
Ride height range: 330 mm (70mm to 400mm)
Chassis frame: Carbon fiber reinforced plastic
Bodywork: Carbon fiber reinforced plastic
Glazing: Lexan Polycarbonate
Driving mode: Driver assisted controlled on existing roads, autopilot on Supertrack
Equipped with: Seat belts, TV, internet, air-conditioning, heating, etc
Provided with: Navigation system, obstacle detection, communication system, fail safe system and control system
– Official site: http://www.superbusproject.com
– PopSci: http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2011-04/video-new-dutch-superbus-carries-two-dozen-passengers-155-mph
– MSNBC: http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/15/11720402-hollands-superbus-project-aims-to-transport-people-at-150-miles-per-hour