Before seeing this headline, if I asked you to guess which city in Europe just got its 500th electric bus, it’s highly unlikely you would have guessed Moscow. Russia is a major oil & gas country. It is heavily reliant on the oil market. As the oil industry goes, so goes Russia. But, as we’ve seen with some Middle Eastern countries and with Norway, being a major oil producer can also open your eyes to the dramatic shifts underway in the world of transport. Indeed, cutting oil use within your own borders can help (to a limited degree) with the supply–demand balance that determines how much oil companies can sell their oil for. Okay, perhaps we’re going too far; let’s get back to the news.
Mosgortrans, a public transit company for the Moscow metro area, has reportedly put its 500th electric bus into service. This electric bus was produced by Kamaz, a Russian truck and engine (and apparently electric bus) manufacturer.
“Two years ago, you remember this story, we launched the first electric
bus. Everyone thought it was fantastic, that he wouldn’t go anywhere, he wouldn’t work. Here it is, the reality: 500 electric buses is the largest park among European cities,” the Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, said.
I should perhaps note here that the quotes from the original news release have been run through Google Translate.
“The electric bus is a first-class car, convenient for both drivers and passengers, very comfortable. We will continue to work, increase the volume of supplies so that our entire mosgortrans fleet will be replaced by electric buses,” Sergey Sobyanin said.
“We see how the environment is changing, because passenger transport and personal transport are becoming better. After all, cars add every year in terms of ecology. And we should not be behind, but ahead. To form fashion, to create environmental trends in the first place.”
That sounds like a good plan to me. The mayor also reminded people to wear gloves and masks. Sounds like a responsible mayor.
The bus driver for this 500th electric bus also highlighted in an interview that the smooth electric buses are much nicer for her and the other drivers, as well as the passengers of course.
Kamaz and Gaz, another Russian auto manufacturer, delivered Moscow’s first 300 electric buses in 2018 and 2019, beginning in autumn of 2018. Then around 200 were put into service this year, with 100 more on the way. Next year, Moscow will get another 400 electric buses. By 2023, the capital city of Russia intends to have 2,300 electric buses in service, “a third of the capital’s land transport fleet.” Counting electric trams — because of course you should — 40% of Moscow’s land transport vehicles will be electric.
Moscow is happy to put this electric bus leadership into some broader European perspective. “By comparison, there are 300 electric buses in London, 259 in Paris, 200 in Berlin and 164 in Amsterdam.” In other words, Moscow is whoopin’ their butts. Come on, Western Europe!
“Today, electric buses serve 36 routes. Since the beginning of the work, they have transported more than 55 million passengers and traveled more than 22 million kilometers on the roads of Moscow.
“The Moscow electric bus can accommodate 85 passengers, it provides for 30 seats. Due to the low level of the floor, the presence of a ramp, a storage area and places for visually impaired people with a guide dog to use electric buses is convenient for everyone, including low-mobility passengers.”
These electric buses are utilizing ultrafast charging for 6–10 minutes at a time at certain stops, with the ultrafast charging infrastructure now in place at 100 locations around the city. The buses currently serve 36 bus routes in the city.
“The design of electric buses is constantly being improved. This year, the city is purchasing the third generation of electric buses . Compared to previous versions, they include:
– separate climate control is provided for the driver and passengers;
– thermal curtains of doors and side windows were modernized;
– the floor covering was replaced with a more wear-resistant one, the pattern imitates a parquet board;
– soft panels are installed in the center of the cabin, on which passengers can lean their elbows when riding while standing;
– a system of automated passenger counting was installed;
– built-in all-round cameras;
– there are speakers to inform visually impaired passengers about the direction of travel;
– equipped with a multimedia electric bus control system – the driver can control the operation of the car directly from the tablet on the dashboard. Online data is transmitted to Mosgortrans servers. In the future, this will make transport control automatic.”
I’m burying the lede, though, because perhaps the most interesting line of all from the mayor’s office is this one: the Moscow electric bus won “Car of the Year in Russia 2019.”