Japan Debuts the Cutest Dual-Mode Vehicle Ever, It’s Both a Minibus and a Train

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Jets that can glide on water, aircraft that can reach the stratosphere – there are plenty of vehicles that wow us with their hybrid capabilities. But this adorable means of transportation that can drive on public roads like a bus, and on rail tracks like a train, is said to be the world’s first dual-mode vehicle (DMV) of its kind. It doesn’t have a cute name (just DMV), but this minibus is as adorable as it gets. It recently made its debut in Japan, where it will be operated by a private-public railway company, Asa Coast Railway. It’s a great milestone for both the company and the Tokushima Prefecture, which have been waiting ten years for this moment to come. Nippon reports that Shigeki Miura, the Mayor of the Kayio town in Tokushima, is also the president of the railway company. The Japanese DMV looks like a minibus, and is fitted with regular tires, for operating on public roads. But the magic happens when steel wheels suddenly descend from its underbelly, ready to hit the tracks, like a train. The switch takes only 15 seconds, during which a drumming performance of local students is played inside the vehicle – to mark the special moment. Powered by conventional fuel, the minibus/train can hit 62 mph (100 kph) when operating as a bus, and up to 37 mph (60 kph), when running as a train, Euronews reported. An entire fleet of cute dual-mode buses in various colors is ready to take passengers from Tokushima to Kochi, connecting several towns along the coast of Shikoku island. Japan is known for respecting its elders, and the DMV was designed with them in mind. A means of transportation that could pick up elders from the bus station and simply take them to the city where they want to go, without them having to switch from buses to trains, is a form of respect and consideration shown to the ageing population. Plus, local authorities hope that it will encourage tourism. After all, who wouldn’t be tempted to take a ride on the world’s first DMV?