Skip to main content

Has China's futuristic, traffic-straddling bus scammed investors out of millions?

China Straddling Bus
China TBS
China’s 22nd-century-esque Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) once promised to drastically reduce congestion in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. A recent report finds the project has reached a dead end after getting attention — and money — from numerous investors.

The only functional TEB prototype is covered by a thick layer of dust and grime in a large, makeshift hangar located in the coastal city of Qinhuangdao. It hasn’t moved in months, and the security guards in charge of keeping an eye on the site say that no one has gone near the two-story-tall behemoth in weeks. They’re concerned the project has been shelved once and for all.

Related Videos

“The managers from the company have long drifted away, and I am unable to contact them,” explained one of the guards in an interview with The Shanghaiist.

The TEB’s future looked promising last August when the now-idle prototype began testing on a 328-meter stretch of road that Huaying Group, the company in charge of the project, leased from Qinhuangdao. However, observers quickly began raising serious doubts about how the TEB could be neatly integrated into China’s oft-chaotic streets. Notably, skeptics pointed out taller vehicles such as delivery trucks would be unable to drive under the bus because it only has 82 inches of clearance. Others noted that it’s a train, not a bus, because it rides on tracks.

More serious issues followed. About a month after the first test was carried out, Chinese media outlets reported the TEB project was a pipe dream fabricated by Huaying Group to scam investors out of billions of yuan. Further investigation revealed the company hadn’t started building its first factory yet; in fact, government officials hadn’t even given Huaying permission to develop the site. Reporters who traveled to the location of the factory found kids playing on a slightly littered vacant plot of land, not bulldozers, cranes, and cement mixers in action.

Investors soon walked away from the project, sometimes asking for their money back, which left Huaying strapped for cash. No one has ever managed to prove the TEB project was a scam — it could have been the victim of a smear campaign by the Chinese media. Of course, it could also simply be a half-baked, under-funded idea that’s too impractical for mass implementation. Qinhuangdao residents don’t want to find out why the project screeched to a halt; the TEB hangar was built on a public road so they want the prototype gone as fast as possible.

One thing is certain: The futuristic, traffic-hopping bus that promised to alleviate China’s chronic traffic woes will remain a prototype in the foreseeable future.

Editors' Recommendations

9 longest-range plug-in hybrids: get the best of both worlds
2020 Polestar 1

All-electric cars are here and becoming increasingly available, but not everyone is ready to make the jump to an EV. After all, while EVs are cheaper to run and maintain, they also require you spend the time and effort to charge them — and on longer drives, that can be a bit of a pain. That’s exactly where plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) come in.

Plug-in hybrids offer the best of both worlds. They have an electric motor and a battery to allow you to drive without using any gas, and they have an engine and gas tank to allow you to drive using gas. The result? Often, you can get around town and to work and back without using any gasoline — only engaging the gas engine when you’re driving longer distances. That means that you don’t have to stop and charge when you don’t want to.

Read more
Best Buy’s deal of the day is $120 off a 25ft electric car charger
juicebox electric vehicle charger deal best buy february 2023 25ft

If you're looking for one of the best ways to charge your electric vehicle, Best Buy has a great deal for you today. Right now, you can buy the Juicebox 25ft Electric Vehicle Charger for $549, saving you $120 off the regular price of $669. Convenient for anyone who wants to be able to charge from home more efficiently, this level 2 electric vehicle charger is sure to be a hit with you. You'll need to be fast though as, predictably, this deal of the day ends today. Let's take a quick look at why it's worth it.

Why you should buy the Juicebox 25ft Electric Vehicle Charger
If you've been reading up on how to charge your electric car at home, you'll notice Juicebox gets a mention. Its Level 2 chargers are more powerful than Level 1 so you can refill your battery quicker. With the Juicebox 25ft Electric Vehicle Charger, you can expect up to six times faster charging than with the charger that came with your car. Universal compatibility means it works with all TVs on the market today and in the future, including Teslas thanks to a commonly used adapter.

Read more
Cruise’s robotaxis have driven 1 million miles fully driverless
A driverless Cruise car in San Francisco.

General Motors-backed Cruise revealed this week that its fully driverless cars have now traveled more than a million miles, mostly on the streets of San Francisco.

The achievement comes just 15 months after the company’s first fully driverless ride, during which time it also launched San Francisco’s first paid driverless robotaxi service.

Read more