Public transport and futuristic design are seldom phrases you see mentioned in the same sentence. And yet, they're the first two phrases that come to mind when you look at the R1 (short for Russia One). This thing looks impossibly awesome.
Uralvagonzavod, a Russian tank company, just showed off the R1 prototype streetcar at the Innoprom-2014 tech expo, and it would be an understatement to say that it turned heads. The R1 can accommodate GPS navigation, on board Wi-Fi, an audio system, and even has antibacterial rails. The reverse-angled windshield also makes it easy for the operator to see out without glare.
The tram is also equipped with HD cameras that make side mirrors unnecessary. It looks almost too sleek and luxurious to be a public transportation vehicle.
It might be. The R1's indulgent design meant that each car sits only 28 people. (An average city bus can seat about 48 people.) It's unclear how many more could squeeze into the very beautiful to grab onto the elegant dark wood railings.
Plus, if it got too crowded, the passengers wouldn't be able to appreciate the clean lines and airy space inside the cabin. Outside, a stealth black finish is accented only be strips of LED lights that look like they're straight out of Tron.
For now, it remains to be seen which cities (if any) snatch up the R1. Priced at around $1.4 million, the futuristic streetcar is not a cheap addition to a town's infrastructure, but it does feature the latest innovations, like the ability to run autonomously for over 30 miles after it's lost electricity. A pilot program is scheduled to start soon in Ekaterinburg, a medium-sized city in central Russia. After that, RT reports that a mass roll out is expected in 2017, just in time for Russia to host the World Cup—although we've heard Russia make big promises like that before. [RT, UVZ]