Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

The bus? All-terrain vehicle!

Ural Automotive Plant prepares to start serial production of buses designed specifically for the Arctic

16 october 2022

Any transport in the Arctic has special requirements. The equipment here must withstand temperatures below –50, be able to overcome off-road conditions with ease and still meet high environmental standards. And the demands on buses are even higher, since they carry the most valuable thing of all—people. Understanding this, the Ural Automotive Plant has developed a new series of Arctic buses. The first tests at critical temperatures have already been passed, with serial production to begin in 2024.

The Arctic buses are a joint development of the Ural Automotive Plant in Miass, South Ural State University and Bauman Moscow State Technical University. They will carry passengers to hard-to-reach areas—places where no other vehicles can pass. The tundra and its off-road terrain are no problem: the new vehicle is able to negotiate lakes and rivers up to a metre and a half deep. The low-pressure, full-section tyres are specially designed for Arctic conditions and offer increased flotation over snow drifts and sticky ground, turning the Arctic buses into true all-terrain vehicles. And they also reduce vibration, so passengers won't feel any shaking.

The vast distances between northern settlements are no obstacle either: the Arctic buses are capable of travelling 600 km without refuelling. Engines can be either diesel or gas-powered.

Due to the huge wheels, the car is almost two metres above the ground, so you have to use a folding ladder to get into the cabin. It's even more comfortable inside than a normal bus. All seats have armrests and a dining area with tables is available for snacks on long journeys.

Everything is also provided for in case of an emergency. If the bus gets caught in an ice hole, it will be able to stay in the water for more than an hour: that should be enough time to evacuate both driver and passengers. And if there is a breakdown and help is needed—and in the Arctic, with its vast distances, it won't arrive soon—then the passengers won't be in danger. Perhaps the main distinguishing feature of the Arctic buses is their autonomous life support. The independent heaters in the passenger compartment work even when the engine is switched off and the insulated walls and double glazing keep the heat in.

The designers also did not forget that transport in the Arctic must not damage the thin soil layer—a wheel track in the tundra takes decades to overgrow. The wide, low-pressure tyres distribute the load and do not damage the ground.

At the first stage, the Miass plant plans to produce up to 300–330 vehicles per year. At the same time, the next version of the Arctic bus is being developed—a road train with medical rooms, classrooms, laboratories and vaccination points. The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ural Automotive Plant will invest RUB 490 mn in the project.

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