The World's Longest Bus Rolls Out

The world’s longest bus is being presented in Dresden on August 22, 2012. The "AutoTram Extra Grand" is a hybrid vehicle of 30 meters length. The three-piece bus, which can carry up to 256 passengers. "Due to its high transport capacity, the AutoTram bridges the gap between conventional city buses and trams, offering new possibilities for an environmental friendly public transport," the Fraunhofer Institute said in a press release.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research the innovative vehicle AutoTram Extra Grand has been developed to combine the advantages of road and tram rail transport. While equipped with wheels and, hence, flexible in route planning, the vehicle is 30 meters long and offers 96 seats as well as space for 160 standing passengers.
AutoTram Extra Grand currently does its laps on the DEKRA test track at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, working through the testing procedure to obtain a single vehicle approval. (Picture from:
As a hybrid vehicle it is equipped with an electric engine, which can cover a distance of 8-10km. A diesel-electric range extender works as a charger of the electric battery at each bus stop. Additionally, supercondensers enable to recover braking energy as electricity. According to German traffic law the bus turning radius does not exceed 12.5 metres. This bus was constructed by Göppel Bus GmbH in Thüringen.

"There is a lot of know-how invested in it - the computer is driven by a pretty clever steering algorithm," Matthias Klingner, the institute's director told The Local. The Autotram comes with a special steering system on its four regulated axles, which ensures that the back sections of the bendy-bus precisely follow the front section.
AutoTram Extra Grand, the world's longest bus. (Picture from:
"Thanks to this patented multiple axis steering, the vehicle can manoeuvre just as easily as a 12-meters bus, forwards as well as backwards," an institute statement said.

"There's no problem with the manoeuvrability and stability, but we have to see how such a long bus affects normal city traffic," said Klingner.

Matthias Klinger also told The Local there has been a lot of interest from cities in the developing world looking to develop cheap public transport systems.

AutoTram Extra Grand will offer tram capacity on routes where it would be too expensive to build trails. Unveiling will take place near the famous Semper Opera in Dresden. This means that the new vehicle emits fewer pollutants than traditional busses, offers capacity to as many passengers as trams do while routes do not depend on an existing track network.

Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI jointly with other partners including the Institute of Electrical Power Engineering, Technical University of Dresden, Wittur Electric Drive and Dresden’s public transport operator DVB developed and tested the AutoTram. Attractive for transport operators is the research group’s outline that purchasing and maintenance costs for the AutoTram are lower than for traditional trams. The bus is set to make its debut in congested Dresden traffic in October. Currently, it is undergoing tests in special facilities outside the city. *** [EKA | GADLING | FRAUNHOFER IVI | THE LOCAL]
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