In a feat of speedy innovation, a Chinese company this week road tested what’s being billed as a traffic-busting new kind of mass transit – a large, elevated street-straddling tram that cars can drive under.
A full-scale prototype of the so-called Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) was put through its paces on a controlled track in Qinhuangdao city, Hebei Province, on Tuesday, 2 August, just three months after its developer, Beijing’s TEB Technology, wowed the world with a scaled down model of the concept at a Beijing tech expo in April.
The test, on a 300-m-long electrified track, evaluated the braking system and power consumption of the surreal vehicle, which is 22m long, 7.8m wide, and can carry 300 passengers in a cabin 2m above the road surface, Chinese media reported yesterday.
Body work on the sole full-scale TEB was completed only last month, by KTK Group in Changzhou city.
In China people were taken aback by how fast the idea went from concept to reality. Thousands took to social media site Weibo.
The vehicle is 22m long, 7.8m wide, and can carry 300 passengers in a cabin 2m above the road surface (Xinhua)
"I saw images of this not long ago and now it’s actually happening?" asked one user, reports the BBC. "This is truly build at ‘Chinese speed'".
Itself founded only last year in Beijing, the company, TEB Technology, believes the "straddling bus" will revolutionise mass public transit because it uses existing roads and is far cheaper than building underground subways.
Subways cost $100m per kilometre to build, on average, while a TEB transit system would cost just $20m/km, the company claims on its website.
By stringing four TEBs together, 1,200 people can be whisked along over traffic-clogged roads at speeds up to 60km/h, the company says, saving fuel and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
By stringing four TEBs together, 1,200 people can be whisked along over traffic-clogged roads at speeds up to 60km/h, the company says (Xinhua)
The first full-scale "TEBway" may appear in the Chinese city of Zhoukou, Henan province. The municipal government there agreed in December 2015 to offer a 500-acre industrial park to TEB Technology to develop its system, and plans to lay 200km of TEB lanes to serve its population of 9 million, the company says.
Other cities, Tianjin, Shenyang, and Xiangfan, have also signed "strategic cooperation agreements", TEB Technology says.
Helping to develop the system are China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation and KTK Group, as well as Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tongji University, according to the firm.
Images by Xinhua