You’ve probably seen to impressive renderings of an interesting concept for a futuristic electric straddling bus that has been making the rounds in China since earlier this year, but as it turns out, the company behind the concept, Transit Explore Bus or TEB, already produced a full-scale prototype which it inaugurated for a pilot project in Qinhuangdao today.
The straddling bus serves the same purpose as a subway system, to provide mass transit without taking up space for road traffic, but TEB estimates that the cost of implementation is only about 16% of the cost of a subway due to removing the need for tunnels.
The system is powered by battery packs that can be charged by electric chargers installed along the vehicle’s route, not unlike more traditional electric bus charging concepts.
While the renderings were impressive (see video below), the actual full-scale prototype is certainly even more spectacular – here are a few pictures from the inauguration today via New China:
The pilot project is taking place in Qinhuangdao, a coastal city about 186 miles (300 km) east of Beijing.
If successful, the system could become an important piece of two increasingly complicated puzzles in China, air pollution and traffic. The all-electric powertrain will emit no emission and the nature of the bus should significantly improve public transit.
It both removes buses from the road and increases the passenger density. Since it covers two lanes, the interior is very spacious and big enough to accommodate several times more passengers than a regular bus.
The pilot project will run for the rest of the summer. We will be following the outcome of the trial and potential future implementations of the concept.