What happened to the Superbus?

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superbus-jan-oosterhuis

It was a crazy idea that might just work—the Superbus, a cross between a Formula One car and good old public transport.

The Superbus was one of the many sustainable inventions that Delft technology professor and former astronaut Wubbo Ockels either came up with or helped develop. It would have comfortably carried 23 passengers in bucket seats on a custom built road between Amsterdam and Groningen, cutting current travel times to shreds.

But even before Ockels’ death in 2014 the Superbus had disappeared off of the world’s radar. It’s website is still up, but hasn’t been updated since 2012, with the exception of an obituary for Ockels. And where did the actual prototype go? Dagblad van het Noorden decided to find out last June.

The prototype is currently stored in a warehouse at the University of Delft, where it was developed. A spokesperson for the university told the paper: “The bus is still in a good condition, although it can no longer be driven. We had to remove the batteries for safety reasons, for example.”

Ockels’ widow Joos told the paper that it would take several months to get the bus roadworthy again. She receives regular calls from people and organisations that want to rent the vehicle for a trip.

The bus’ license plate expired in 2014.

Several organisations have expressed interest for exhibiting the Superbus. The Transport Museum in Lelystad however has to first overcome the obstacle of not yet existing, and a plan to store it in a facility of Stichting Wadduurzaam (presumably so that it could be displayed to the public) failed because the storage space would have to be fixed first, which would be too costly.

See also: Dutch spaceman Wubbo Ockels dies.

(Photo by Jan Oosterhuis, some rights reserved)

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