During the motion of any wheeled vehicle, energy is spent: 1) to overcome the rolling resistance of the wheel; 2) for aerodynamic drag. The first depends on the mass of the vehicle and the rolling resistance factor, however this characteristic at low speeds is ten times better for a steel wheel than for a pneumatic one. The second depends on the midsection (cross-sectional area of the body), the aerodynamic qualities of the body and the external conditions — for example, closely spaced screen (asphalt sheet, the surface of the ground, etc.). The above can by times worsen the aerodynamics. The reducer and other similar working parts of the vehicle will use another 10% of energy consumption.
A unibus vehicle for 50 passengers on steel wheels with advanced patented aerodynamics, weighing 10 tons, at a speed of 500 km/h will require 398 of the engine power, or 7.96 kW×passenger. Of these, 368 kW (or 92.5%) will be spent on aerodynamics, and 30 kW (or 7.5%) — on steel wheels. In terms of fuel, such unibus will spend 21.5 liters of diesel fuel per 100 km, or 0.43 l per 100 passenger×km. These results are based on experimental data: the drag coefficient of the unibus is CX=0.08 (experimentally obtained as a result of blowdowns in a wind tunnel of the Krylov State Research Center in St. Petersburg). The midsection area is FM=2.5 m2 (project design data), the coefficient of rolling friction of steel wheels on the head of a string rail is CRF=0,002 (experimental data obtained at the test site in the town of Ozyory, Moscow region). Thus, if a unibus is fueled at the rate of 1 l/passenger, it will travel about 230 km at a speed of 500 km/h. If the speed is reduced to 100 km/h, the same unibus will pass 2,050 km.
A vehicle of similar capacity with pneumatic tyres moving on the pavement and having a clean aerodynamic lines of the most expensive car "Bugatti", at the same speed of 500 km/h would require increase of the drive capacity up to 3.110 kW — and this equals to 5 tank engines. Of them 1.660 kW — on aerodynamics ("Bugatti" has CX=0.36), 1.450 kW — on pneumatic wheel, as the rolling resistance of such wheels is progressing with the increase of speed and at high turns of wheels gets worse by ten times more. At excess capacity equal to 3.110 kW — 368 kW = 2.742 kW, such wheeled vehicle during its continuous operation would outspend 17.7 tons of fuel a day, 6.5 thousand tons per year, and for the 20-year operational period — 130 thousand tons, or 43 full trains with fuel.
Even more striking is the benefit of unibus compared with the most economical aircraft in the world — the A380 Airbus. Although the unibus speed is only 500 km/h and the cruising speed of A380 is 890 km/h, they can be adequately compared with each other, because at distances of up to 2,500 km, the unibus will be even a more speedy transport in the logistics chain on "door to door" basis. For example, from the center of Moscow to the center of St. Petersburg (650 km) a passenger will get within 1 hour and 40 minutes on a unibus (390 km/h average speed) , and using the services of aviation — within 3 hours at best (220 km/h average speed). In the latter case, the passenger would have to use additionally other modes of transport and to pay fare for traveling on the route sections "City — Airport" and "Airport — City", including payment for the additional consumption of energy (fuel).
The fuel capacity of A380 is 320.000 liters (250 tons of aviation kerosene). The Airbus will fully process the tanks within 17.5 hours of flight, or it is capable of burning (at continuous operation) 343 tons of kerosene a day, 125 thousand tons per year, over a 20-year period of operation — 2.5 million tons (!). You can imagine what environmental damage is done by only one aircraft that burns millions of tons of fuel in the most vulnerable part of atmosphere — in the lower layers of stratosphere, where the protective biosphere ozone layer actually begins. It is also known, that some of the combustion products of aircraft engines are washed out at such altitudes during a year and, during that year, destroy ozone that saves all life on the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. It should be remembered that for the combustion of these 2.5 million tons of kerosene about 8.5 million tons of atmospheric oxygen (which we breathe) will be irrevocably withdrawn from the atmosphere. More than 100 environmentally hazardous cancerogenic and chemically active products of combustion with a total mass of 11 million tons will be thrown out into the ozone layer. Moreover, waste from the combustion of this fuel will not only be placed in the ozone layer, but will be thrown out there in the form of ionized gas — at high speed and with high temperature.
A train composed of unibuses, of the same capacity as the A380 (525 passengers), will consume more environmentally friendly electric power in terms of fuel (see above): 27 tons a day, 9.9 thousand tons a year and 197 thousand tons — over a 20-year period of operation. Savings compared to the A380 — 2.3 million tons (!) over a 20-year period of continuous operation. And this equals to 767 railway trains of 60 oil tank cars with a capacity of 50 tons of fuel each!
About the same advantages in terms of saving energy (fuel) unibusses will have over high-speed railways and magnetic levitation trains. The latter have a drive with power density of 70-80 kW/passenger so as to reach the speed of 500 km/h, while for the unibus this figure is 8-10 kW/passenger. Accordingly, unbusses will be 7-8 times more economical.
An excerpt from the conclusion of the Institute of Transportation Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
"... Yunitsky string transport is the most economical transport system from all known. In comparison with a plane — by 8 times, a train with magnetic levitation by 9 times, a high-speed railway— by 3 times...".
Especially impressive the advantages of SkyWay tracks network will be on a planetary scale. Let us consider a hypothetical fuel saving on 25 million kilometers of high-speed routes that will be built in the 21st century by RSW technologies. It is not so much of the routes, given the fact that more than 30 million miles of various roads were built in the 20th century on the planet, but it was not enough, so construction of new roads continues everywhere. Only in Russia alone, it is necessary to build at least 5 million kilometers of new routes so as to overtake the U.S. by the length of the road network.
Operation of this route network of 25 million km length would require not less than 250 thousand unibusses — conventional trains with the capacity of 525 passengers each, that is, as the Airbus A380 has. It is not so much of the rolling stock: 1 "train" on 200 km of route (in single-rail measurement) at an average traffic frequency of 24 minutes. Compared with aviation, performing the same transport work, conditional fuel saving on this route network will amount to 31.2 billion tons per year of total cost of USD 40 trillion (!).
About 6 billion tons of oil is extracted on the planet annually at present; the proven oil reserves in the world are about 150 billion tons.
The SkyWay network efficiency will greatly increase its multifunctionality. The rail-string overpass designed with the possibility of combining with multi-channel communication lines (wired, fiber, cellular and radio), power lines (cable and aerial), as well as solar and wind power plants, both for own needs and for providing appropriate services to third-party users. The SkyWay will become not only a transport network, but also a communication one, on which passengers, freight, energy and information will be transferred efficiently, safely and environmentally friendly. Therefore the SkyWay network will be so efficient that it will be able to refund its creation only due to its multifunctionality, not taking into account its transportation network capabilities.