According to TomTom, Moscow has the worst traffic congestion in the world.
A Provocator From Russia
By Bill Moore
Frustrated by traffic in Moscow, Russian businessman Alexander Malyshev came up with a multi-functional car platform for the urban jungle of the 21st century: it's called the Provocator.
Certain parts of the world are synonymous with the car design and manufacturing: Detroit, Stuttgart, Milan, even increasingly Shanghai.
But Moscow, Russia? Not so much. That hasn't deterred Russian businessman Alexander Malyshev from his vision of building a vehicle platform specifically designed for the congested roads of the world's megacities, including his hometown, which GPS manufacturer TomTom rated worst in the world in 2013.
As if to illustrate how cars are becoming evermore connected, Malyshev and I spoke via Skype from inside his car, which was parked along a clearly busy thoroughfare in Moscow, the largest city in Russia. The greater metro area encompasses some 16.8 million people.
It was his frustration with traffic in the capital that prompted him to think about a different kind of motor vehicle, one that would be better suited to the realities of travel and traffic in the 21st century. His design, provocatively called the Provocator, combines the height of an SUV and the length of Daimler Smart Car into what he hopes would be a extraordinarily affordable, multi-function vehicle platform. The PDF file he sent EV World illustrates how it could be configured as a taxi, a logistics/package delivery vehicle, even a food truck, complete with working mini-kitchen. In its conventional configuration, it seats four; as a taxi, it could seat six.
The project is still just a concept, but Malyshev is working hard to pull together investors from inside Russia, as well as Europe to turn his CAD drawings into a exhibition model by the Paris car show this coming Fall. Of course, current economic sanctions and political tensions are an added obstacle.
Maybe the most ambitious, or maybe a better term would be audacious, is Malyshev's price goal for the base model of between €3500 to €4500. That would be equivalent in US dollars of between $3980-$5115 for gasoline engine model. While he personally sees electric propulsion as the future - and an EV model would be available, as well as a hybrid version - he also recognizes that various regions of the world may opt for different propulsion systems. This is why the Provocator would be available with ICE-age engines burning petrol or diesel, as well as hybrid and battery models.
Clearly, Malyshev has his work cut out for him, but its also obvious from Moscow's traffic mess, that better solutions for both personal mobility and goods movement are desperately needed. The Provocator could be one of those solutions.
Originally published: 04 Jun 2016
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