News: KAMAZ on batteries – Expert

It is less and less likely that the former Renault Russia plant will be given over for development, there are more and more chances for the implementation of ambitious plans for the revival of the Moskvich brand. PJSC KAMAZ is now not only a technical partner, but also a co-owner of the plant, renamed JSC Automobile Plant Moskvich and designed to produce nearly two hundred thousand vehicles a year.

By agreement of the parties, the first investments in the new enterprise will be made by the end of this year and will amount to 5 billion rubles. The development strategy of the plant for 8 years will be agreed before August 15.

“Oka” returns in the guise of an electric car

The course towards the production of electric vehicles and the orientation of the product to taxis, sharing and corporate transport were announced by the Moscow leadership during the transfer of the plant by the French in May of this year. At the same time, it was announced that KAMAZ PJSC would become a technical partner, where since the fall of 2019 they have been working on the implementation of a project for the production of just such machines. A sort of reincarnation of KamAZ-1111 “Oka”, produced in Naberezhnye Chelny in 1988-2006, but at a new technological level and with an eye on corporate sales. The first attempt, in cooperation with the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in Chelny, was considered unsuccessful, they decided to reassemble the team again and develop the car on their own. However, the design project (aka “primary design”) was ordered “on the side” from the Italians from Italdesign.

What kind of machine will it be, now known as the “Kama project”? According to the statements of the general director of Kamaz, Sergey Kogogin, this will be a B-class “under-crossover”, 4.4 m long. According to insiders, the car is much more compact, 3.7 m long (i.e. ”), with hinged rear half-doors in the manner of the BMW i3.

All sources agree on one thing: it will be a front-wheel drive car of a conservative design (steel body, MacPherson front suspension, rear semi-independent beam) with batteries suspended rather than integrated into the floor. The latter makes it possible to switch to fast battery replacement, which is considered especially promising for electric vehicles used in taxis and sharing. However, in parallel they are also working on “normal” charging, from “fast” and “slow” electric filling stations. Battery capacity – up to 70 kWh, engine power – expected from 90 to 130 kW. The localization of the “materiel” is assumed to be maximum – not only the body and chassis, but also the batteries (including cells), and the engine, and the inverter will be domestic

Knowing the authorship of the design, it is easy to assume that the car will be proportional, harmonious … and hopelessly boring, that is, “like everyone else.” This is the practice of Italdesign, which is considered to be something like McDonald’s in the world of technical aesthetics. A set of standard solutions produced by the inline method. But it’s cheap, and a high-profile brand will reject questions from customers who are inexperienced in modern design (and top managers of Chinese automakers, the main clients of the studio, are just like that).

But on gadgets and toys, KAMAZ intends to go far: an advanced multimedia system, holographic projection of dashboard and navigator data on the windshield and, of course, branded mobile applications to simplify the use of the car in sharing, taxi or as a company car.

Technopark on the ruins of the Lenin Komsomol

Plans for the production of such machines – by the way, have not changed since 2019 – 60-70 thousand per year. Which is realistic given the unprecedented benefits for the conversion of corporate fleets to electric traction and preferential terms for lending to taxi services. Closer to 100 thousand kilometers, such a car should “beat off” the difference in cost with gasoline, which for a taxi is about equivalent to one and a half years of use. All in all, such an electric car should “live” in a taxi for at least three years, which is technically feasible.

It is more difficult with carsharing, the economic prospects of which on the market are still very vague. But the Moscow authorities apparently intend to continue to provide benefits and subsidies to sharing services, so it is difficult to calculate the economy in the “shared services” of future “Moskvich”. In any case, in the medium term, the estimated sales of such machines are quite real.

But these are distant plans. KAMAZ workers promise to “show the car” in a year. True, it will be at best a self-propelled layout. A commercial vehicle is expected at best in 2025. And before the “new old” car plant does not generate losses (or at least does it to a minimum), it is supposed to be loaded with industrial assembly of Chinese cars. Most likely, the JAC brand, although representatives of the plant deny this in every possible way. And the first 5 billion rubles (in general, a tiny amount by the standards of auto production) will go, as indicated in the text of the agreement between the parties, “for the purpose of investing in the localization of components and components and adapting production capacities.”

For the future, it is planned to develop a base for the production of components in the Moscow region, including very close – on the territory of the technopark on the site of the former workshops of the Lenin Komsomol Automobile Plant (AZLK).

The plans of the Moscow government also include the creation in the capital of a center of competence for the production of electric vehicles and components. It already includes former employees of the marketing department (including the legendary “product team” in the Russian auto engineering circle) of the Renault representative office. The very ones that managed the development and launch of the French crossovers Kaptur and Arkana to the Russian and other markets.

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