Russia’s Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ,) a Russian automotive manufacturer located in Nizhny Novgorod, has launched pre-production of the GAZelle e-NN commercial electric vehicle. The question is why, since there is no demand for electric LCVs. Along with that the demand for fuel vehicles continues falling steadily. However, the GAZ management is paving the way for future sales.
There is a little historical perspective. GAZelle that is so popular nowadays was created by GAZ experts when there was no demand for one-and-a-half-tonnes truck and no small-size businesses that are its main current consumers in Russia. The representatives of ZiL, a rival company, laughed at the GAZ’s shortsightedness. About two years passed after that. The hike in demand was unbelievable. GAZ turned out to be ready to offer the required products to their new consumers. Meanwhile, the fate of ZiL was sad but cautionary.
The social and economic formation that excludes private businesses, gave way to the one that is based on private property. Certainly, they should not be compared. The latter one presupposes possible but inevitable reorientation of companies to electric cars. Nevertheless, one should be ready for the rise a new market sector which seems very promising. That is what GAZ is currently doing. However, it does not advertise its own intentions, so that competitors would not get details of it.
In Russia only Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33 can be found in the niche of light commercial trucks so far. There are cargo-passenger and two cargo variants. It costs a lot – more than 2.5 mln rubles ($31,500.) By 2027, according to the forecast of Vitaly Mankevich, the President of the Russian-Asian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the ratio of sales of gasoline and electric cars is likely to be 50/50.
In the meantime, if anyone in the country is engaged in businesses related to electric cars, these are cars close to the premium segment, mostly, thanks to the victorious laurels of Tesla. We are not going to assess the prospects for the development of passenger electric cars as LCV is our main interest now.
So, the press service of GAZ said that the company had developed an integrated electric platform allowing production of the full range of LCVs such as sided flat trucks, minibuses, vans, as well as various special vehicles.
On September 23, three samples of GAZelle e-NN family were presented at the Digital Sector of Industrial Russia conference at Nizhny Novgorod’s exhibition.
Carrying capacity of the new vehicle is up to 2.5 tonnes with full kerb weight of less than 5 tonnes. The peak capacity of the electric motor reaches 100 kW. The car can make 120 kilometers on one charge. The maximum speed is 100 km / h.
As Vadim Sorokin, GAZ President says that like the Russian engineering industry in general, the company will have to solve the issue of setting up its own production of key components for electric transport.