The bus was first unveiled by Chinese inventor Song Youzhou in 2010, but interest soared after his more recent design was displayed at an exhibition in Beijing in May.

Initial reports said the company behind the invention, Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) Technology Development, expect to build more than 400,000 of the vehicles.

A total of 1,000 were planned to be assembled every year at the company’s Zhekou base, the China Daily said on Tuesday, citing a contract with local officials. The project included an investment of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), the contract added.

However, it had now been delayed, Du Guangxian, a local official told the Beijing Youth Daily.

"The environmental impact assessment of the project has not been approved yet, and many documents are still waiting to be signed," he said.

The bus sparked global attention last Tuesday when a test drive was made by a prototype model that had been built in the eastern Jiangsu province.

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