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That Elevated Light Rail That Went Over Cars in China is in Trouble for a Surprising Reason

The Chinese government alleges that the company raised money using an illegal crowdfunding site and never intended to fully build the vehicles.

If it’s too good to be true, right? Last year, the TEB-1 captured the attention of the whole world — the elevated light rail bus was propped up high enough to cruise over two lanes of car traffic, bypassing traffic jams without affecting the cars below. Well, the TEB-1 is all but dead now, but it’s not because the concept isn’t practical.

In China, investing is more heavily regulated, but crowdfunding (as it does anywhere else) exists in a grey area. While crowdfunding is allowed, it needs to be done through the right channels — and like those lanes of traffic underneath their creation, TEB cruised right over them. The government caught on, and now many of the people behind TEB have been arrested. In addition to questions about how they got funding, the government is also making claims that despite testing, the company never intended to actually build a functional model.

If that’s true, there’s plenty of reason for the city of Qinhuangdao to be mad, too. A test track (actually grooves in the road dug out for the rubber tires of the TEB-1) that was to span 300 meters was being built out on city roads, which ended up disrupting traffic instead of helping it. Sounding the death knell for TEB, those tracks will now be removed.

A working TEB-1 had been built for testing purposes, but reporters that had seen the TEB-1 up close noticed some red flags — including the presence of what appears to be a home air conditioning unit on the side. There were also questions about the use of peer-to-peer lending, which is exactly what has landed TEB in hot water now.

Via The Verge