Electric Buses To Take Over Moscow?

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Despite the general public impression of Russia as being relatively opposed to renewable energy and electric vehicles, the city of Moscow will actually, reportedly, be getting a fleet of electric buses in 2016. Though, some questions remain, based on the coverage of the situation that I’ve read (I can’t read Russian, so this is all going through a translation program).

The head of the Department of Transportation and Development of road transport infrastructure, and the deputy mayor of Moscow, Maxim Liksutov, commented: “I think that Moscow has a great future in terms of electric buses. We really want to buy electric buses, trolley buses is a worthy replacement, because the trolley on the Garden Ring is immobile and creates problems for road users. We expect next year to start buying. We would, first of all, put them on plots in the city center. We need a few hundred. Number of trolleybuses ‘B’, who go on the Garden Ring, about 40. We are waiting for the Russian industry a good quality product.”

Bus moscow

So, from the sounds of it, the only thing holding up wider adoption is the desire to source from Russian companies, rather than relying on imports.

Here’s more via GeekTimes.ru:

Earlier, the Director General of the State Unitary Enterprise “Mosgortrans” Yevgeny Mikhailov, told the journalists that the electric bus LIAZ-6274 (reported range — 280 kilometers) production “Likino Bus Plant” (“LiAZ”) has worked in the Russian capital two or three weeks after which have been found quite serious problems in the energy management system. Now experts “LiAZ” is replaced by electric bus system, causing problems. It is expected that very soon will test electric buses on the line. It is expected that the test will last electric buses until the early 2016, after which they are to be commercial production and procurement of the authorities in Moscow.

In addition to electric buses ‘LiAZ’ experience in the Russian capital and other electric buses, including co-production company Drive Electro and “Kamaz”. The question of the supply of electric buses Drive Electro in Moscow and Moscow region worked out by the government of the region, but the decision depends on the results of the pilot operation in the winter season. That operation at this time of year is the greatest concern among experts.

Bus russia

The General Director of Drive Electro, Sergei Ivanov, commented: “Drive Drive Electro second generation allows you to charge electric bus unimpeded even in minus 40 degrees (Celsius), but ‘Mosgortrans’ should be able to test it in practice. For us it seems obvious that the urban passenger transport will switch to battery power.”

Apparently, the suburbs of Russian cities won’t be getting electric buses anytime soon, though, with some statements on the subject being somewhat harsh: “Bus fleet suburbs are now being translated into alternative fuels. But now we are considering as an alternative to compressed gas, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas. The electric bus is out of the question,” stated a spokesman with the Ministry of Energy of the Moscow region.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

17 thoughts on “Electric Buses To Take Over Moscow?

  • Is building an electric bus not easier than an ICE one, maybe except for the electronic components.
    But for Moscow instead of straight electric bus, a electric bus with a small range extender may be perfect?

    • Or along route charging at some of the bus stops.

      • Yes EV buses are the best, but a hybrid bus, with about 90% less emissions is still much better than even a NG powered ICE bus.

        • Why haul around a ICE or fuel cell and burn NG when there’s no need?

          That’s just making the system unnecessarily complicated.

          • Yes I agree, but we all (or most of us) take a jerry can, even if we do not need it, along for long distance travel for ‘just in case’.

          • Who is the “we”? I’m unaware of anyone packing cans of gas in the US.

          • Well I live in Canada and we have some places with 200 – 600 km , 130 – 400 miles between towns/gas stations, Alaska and Australia may have that as well.

          • Battery swapping would work.

            The goal is to get off fossil fuels.

          • Yes I agree, I would like nothing better than our whole system, energy, all transportation to be off FF today rather than tomorrow.
            But there are still places on this globe were you can travel a whole day or longer without any infrastructure (gas stations).
            If you would want to travel such a long distance you would have to do it like in the movie “The Martian” travel at night and charge during the day.
            Yes i would like energy density to come even close to gas etc, but we still have a bit to go.

          • I vote for all electric drive train with proper wood stove in the back for heat. Sounds like proper Russian solution.

          • Haha I know, but whereas I can’t imagine wood gas vehicles are particularly efficient, using a small wood stove purely for heat production would take a big load off of the batteries. I once met Dean Kamen in 2010, he talked for about 40 minutes about how electric vehicles would never be successful without some sort of external combustion (Stirling) engine to produce heat in the winter and extend range. He is a wacky guy and it is a completely legitimate idea. Also I love the idea of some old babushka getting hired to stoke the fire on a Moscow bus.

  • BYD and Proterra already have electric busses that would work fine in Russia. It would be nice if Russia could embrace the electric car and busses like Norway is.

  • A turf fight between the city and regional authorities, what’s new?

    The cheapest way forward for Moscow would probably be licensing technology from BYD, which has already entered into a partnership with a British coachbuilder for double-decker London buses. National pride and vested interests will prevent this. However the technology is not rocket science and Russian firms will get there eventually.

  • If memory serves, don’t the Russians have the largest electric railway in the world? They should be able to pull off a decent electric bus.

    • “Along the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway, trains of oil tank cars extend across the landscape for miles. Each tank car, black and tarry-looking, with its faded white markings, resembles the one that follows it… a trainload of these cars defines monotony.

      The Trans-Siberian Railway covers 9,288 kilometers between Moscow and the Pacific port of Vladivostok, or 5,771 miles. In other words, if it were twenty-one miles longer, it would be exactly twice as long as Interstate 80 from New Jersey to California. Laying awake near the tracks in some remote spot at night you hear trains going by all through the night with scarcely a pause.

      (T)he Trans-Siberian Railway is all-electric, with overhead cables like a streetcar line – you find the tracks are empty of traffic only for five or ten minutes at a time.

      Besides oil, the railway carries coal, machinery parts, giant tires, scrap iron, and endless containers … just like the containers stacked five stories high around the Port of Newark, New Jersey, and probably every other port in the world.”

      Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier (2010)

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