Kama-1 electric car from KAMAZ has St. Petersburg's DNA, and nothing in common with Kama Oka

The most likely investor of Kama-1 may be the Russian institute — the Industrial Development Fund, sources believe

Kama-1 electric car from KAMAZ has St. Petersburg's DNA, and nothing in common with Kama Oka
Photo: kamaz.ru

“In the coming two years we must hit the 'window of opportunities' and introduce domestic urban electric car, otherwise later we will be 'flooded' with Chinese and European electric cars," the vice-rector for perspective projects at the St. Petersburg and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (Polytech), Aleksey Borovkov, explained what actually can “kill” the development of Kama-1. This is not Russian frosts and not the lack of refueling infrastructure, but the usual Russian backwardness. “China today offered to sell the project right here — we are ready to start production in six months," he lamented. According to Borovkov, the final decision on opening production will be made in January, and the preliminary cost of the car is estimated at 1,2 million rubles, on condition of the assembly of 20,000 cars a year.

How Kama auto premiere was opened by minister of education and science

The premiere of the domestic smart electric car with Tatarstan roots, Kama-1, has become one of the main events for the Russian automobile industry. However, the new product was presented not among the grandees of the automotive industry, as is usually the case, but at the scientific site of the 7th annual national exhibition VUZPROMEXPO 2020. The symbolic unveiling the cover that hid the appearance of the Kama electric car took place in the presence of the minister of science and education of Russia, Valery Falkov. This is not surprising, since the electric car was developed and prepared for mass production not by a separate industrial enterprise but in tandem with the university's scientific school.

The NTI centre 'New Production Technologies' of the Polytech in partnership with KAMAZ created a completely new car from scratch within two years as part of the federal target program “The research and development in priority areas of development of the scientific and technological complex of Russia for 2014-2020". The alliance of the Polytech and the Kama automobile giant won the competitive selection and received 150 million rubles for this purpose. The experimental version of the Kama-1 electric car was shown to the general public on 10 December.

Premiere of domestic smart electric car with Tatarstan roots, Kama-1, has become one of the main events for the Russian automobile industry. Photo: nticenter.spbstu.ru

Kama-1 has a different DNA than Soviet Oka

First of all, this is a compact car: the length of the Kama-1 will be 3,4 metres with a width of 1,7 metres and a height of 1,6 metres. In these parametres, the car is similar to the famous subcompact Oka. Its dimensions are 3,2 metres long, 1,42 metres wide and 1,4 metres high. For this reason, Kama-1 has already been dubbed “the electric successor of Oka” in social networks.

However, Polytech vice-rector and project manager Aleksey Borovkov does not agree with this comparison of an electric car. “It is in no way similar to Oka," the vice-rector said. According to Borovkov, this is a completely new machine that does not have someone else's DNA and is made on a new platform. “This is not someone's converted car, 'upgraded' with electric batteries, radars. None of the experts found any similarity with the European models. This is a unique Russian crossover in its design and technical solutions," he commented on the new product to Realnoe Vremya.

According to Borovkov, this is a completely new machine that does not have someone else's DNA and is made on a new platform. Photo: nticenter.spbstu.ru

It is important not to be late, and money is secondary

The partners have not yet decided when the electric car is going to be released on the market and where they plan to deploy the assembly. As Borovkov told Realnoe Vremya, the preliminary cost of the car is estimated at 1,2-1,3 million rubles. However, to fall into these price parameters, the manufacturer must produce at least 20,000 cars, he said. However, the main question has not been resolved — who will finance the introduction of the Russian electric car into production.

“Today, during the premiere, we have received a lot of offers from private investors, banks and funds," said Aleksey Borovkov. “But the one who takes off first will win! In my opinion, we need to get into the 'window of opportunities' within two or three years. Otherwise, the Russian market will be flooded with foreign competitors," the project manager believes.

“China today offers to sell the project right here — we are ready to start production in six months. But won't it turn out that then we will buy our development from them?" the vice-rector lamented. Thus, the partners decided to take the time to collect all the proposals and return to this topic in January. The head of the press service of KAMAZ, Oleg Afanasyev, confirmed that “the issue is under consideration, as well as the organisation of production and cost”. The most likely investors may be Russian institutions — the industrial development fund, the sources of Realnoe Vremya believe.

Partners have not yet decided when the electric car is going to be released on the market and where they plan to deploy the assembly. Photo: nticenter.spbstu.ru

No worse than Skoda's

What is interesting about this car? Borovkov said that the electric car was built on the basis of the Polytech's own platform solutions. The digital platform of the electric car makes it possible to create several modifications of the Kama-1 to enter the market. However, the base model will be the compact city car Kama-1 with rear-wheel drive. It is equipped with an electric motor with a capacity of up to 160 kW (10% higher than its European counterparts) and a 33 kWh lithium-ion battery (this is less than the European new products), which are installed at the rear. This makes it possible to charge the car in 6 hours, and for fast charging — in 2,5 hours.

But the main feature of the Russian electric car is its long range, Borovkov said. It will be 250-300 km, which is comparable, for example, with the characteristics of the new serial electric crossover Skoda, part of the Volkswagen Group.

In the car, the traditional seating arrangement is 2 by 2. The body is made of carbon, titanium and aluminum, and the design can be modified. This can be done using the smart digital double technology — a model with which you can perform virtual manipulations and measure indicators.

The electric car is equipped with an intelligent driver assistance system ADAS of 3-4 level and is a three-door four-seat compact smart crossover designed in accordance with current trends in the mobility and transport market.

The car has traditional seating arrangement is 2 by 2. Photo: nticenter.spbstu.ru

Sergey Latr from Kazan has long been a member of the club of fans of the famous domestic small car Oka, the car owner appreciated the advantages of the new project:

“As a fan of small cars, I was pleasantly surprised by the news about the presentation of the domestic electric smart crossover Kama-1. I slowly thought about converting my little Oka“to electric traction, but I realised that the future is already here! The advantages of the modern “smart” electric car are obvious, and the fact that it is a domestic development is doubly pleasant. No wonder Kama-1 has been named the successor of Oka — the dimensions of the new car are not much larger than of the familiar mini-car, and the modern design pleases. If the production car confirms the characteristics declared for the exhibition sample, I think it will be in demand as an inexpensive electric car.”

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Tatarstan