Is it a bus, is it a train, is it Nembo Kid? None of that, but all of these things except Nembo Kid. The world's first dual-mode vehicle (VDM), equally at home on road and rail, makes its public debut in Kaiyo, Tokushima Prefecture in Japan.
The two-mode vehicle resembles a minibus, and drives on conventional rubber tires when on the road. However, when it reaches a railway hub, special steel wheels descend from the car's belly and onto the tracks, transforming it into a mini train.
Streets? Where this vehicle goes there is no need for roads. Or rather, they are all fine.
The CEO of the railway company Asa Coast Railway, which operates dual-mode vehicles, said the vehicles could help small towns like Kaiyo with an aging and shrinking population, where local transportation companies struggle to make a profit.
"This dual-mode vehicle can transport people locally (like a bus) and at the same time transport them on the railroad," he explains. Shigeki Miura, CEO of Kansai Bus. "We expect it to be a fantastic form of public transport in rural areas with an elderly population."
Double mode, still a little way to go
The VDM will travel along part of the coast of Shikoku Island in southern Japan. It will connect several small cities offering passengers attractive seaside scenarios: a good viaticum also for those who want to visit all areas of the country by train.
The dual-mode vehicle can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at a speed of 60 km / h (37 mph) on tracks and can reach speeds of around 100 km / h (62 mph) on public roads, Asa Coast said. Railway.
The only drawback (hopefully temporary): the small fleet of dual-mode vehicles, cute and cuddly (with lots of different colors) runs on diesel. Still a little effort for theelectric (or for thehydrogen?), Arigatōgozaimasu.