Posted: 21.06.2023 10:53:00

Charged up for success

Apron electric bus, multifunctional urban electric truck, new model of electric forklift: what are the advantages of Belarusian electrical engineering

Today, sales of electric vehicles are growing all over the world. Belarus follows the global trends. This technique is presented in all segments and classes. And the number of innovations continues to grow. At the recent Electric Transport Day, the Industry Ministry announced the appearance of a Belarusian passenger electric car this year. Leading enterprises of the automotive industry presented their new developments. These are the MAZ apron electric bus, the first Volat electric bus of the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, the multifunctional city electric truck of the National Academy of Sciences, a new model of the AMKODOR electric loader and others. What are the advantages of domestic electrical engineering?

In high readiness 

Those who have ever been to the Minsk-2 National Airport are well acquainted with the first generation of the MAZ apron bus. The one that brings passengers to the planes. Today, the Minsk Automobile Plant is producing a new generation of such a bus, according to Oleg Smolyanko, Deputy Head of the Sales Department for MAZ Passenger Vehicles, it was only made on electric traction, “This is the second generation of the apron bus, designed at airports to transport people to aircraft. The body of the diesel bus, which we showed earlier, is taken as a basis. Diesel counterparts are already in operation. An electric motor and electric batteries are added to the standard body. Development and electrician are of domestic origin. The battery is designed for 126 kWh, the electric motor has a power of 60 kW.”

The novelty, which will soon conquer both domestic and foreign airports, has a lot of differences. And it’s not just electric. As well as design, modified rear axle, air conditioning system, thermal curtains on the doors. It is not surprising that there is considerable interest in the apron electric bus, Oleg Smolyanko explains, “At the exhibition of innovative transport and equipment SPbTransportFest in St. Petersburg, Pulkovo Airport, which plans to take the electric bus into trial operation, became interested in our new product. Now we are negotiating. Interest was also expressed by our Minsk-2 National Airport.”
The leaders in the production of electrical engineering in Belarus in 2023 were joined by the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, which based on its bus created an electric bus of the Volat line. It should be noted that the middle-class electric bus has no competitors, this is also noted at the enterprise, there are no competitors on the Belarusian market yet.
According to MZKT design engineer Aleksandr Metko, in this model the diesel engine has been replaced with an electric motor of our own design with a rated power of 125 kW, six battery packs with a total capacity of 192 kWh are installed, “This gives us a power reserve of 200 kilometres. But the trials are still going on.”

At least a few models of new electric trucks may appear on our market. One of them — a multifunctional urban electric truck of the Joint Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences — is in a high degree of readiness. The car is undergoing certification tests at the test site in order to be able to drive on public roads. The Vitovt electric truck manufactured by one of the leaders in the electric vehicle industry — BKM Holding — is completely equipped with an unmanned control system. And it also has an increased power reserve — up to 200 kilometres, says Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, a leading sales specialist of the foreign economic activity department of the BKM holding.
Another expected novelty is expected in the passenger segment. According to the First Deputy Industry Minister Aleksandr Ogorodnikov, the Belarusian electric car will appear this year. 

Demand is growing and will continue to grow

Demand for Belarusian electrical engineering is growing. First of all, due to reorientation to Russian and CIS markets, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov comments, “However, in general, the geography of our enterprise is large — from the CIS countries to South America.” 
According to him, a special demand, is for trolleybuses with an increased power reserve. For example, 32100D of BKM-Holding was created specifically for Kaliningrad. Its power reserve has been increased by 50 kilometres. This is convenient, the specialist emphasises, that the expansion of the trolleybus fleet with such equipment allows cities to lengthen routes without additional infrastructure costs. 
Oleg Smolyanko agrees with him, “As for electrical engineering, the largest sales are made by trolleybuses with autonomous running. This is understandable, since most cities have retained the contact network, which makes it possible to operate this type of transport without additional investment in infrastructure.”
He believes that the electric bus is first of all good where there are no such communications. In general, compared to 2022, the demand for electric buses and car kits has grown, and to a greater extent in foreign markets. On car kits — by a long way.
The development of the electric direction at MAZ is going on both for passenger and cargo vehicles, sums up Oleg Smolyanko, “In the future, this type of transport will increasingly become part of everyday life. As for the ‘passenger’, we started with autonomous trolleybuses. Now we are making an electric bus entirely from our Belarusian components. We are planning to introduce it this fall.”

Fast and super-fast recharge

Relying on electric transport, Belarus is actively developing the relevant infrastructure. The number of electric charging stations is growing, says Belorusneft Deputy Director General for Construction and General Affairs Andrei Kotik. According to him, in 2023 we will overcome the milestone of 700 charging stations. By the way, according to this indicator, our country occupies a leading position in the CIS, emphasised the Deputy Director General, “Next year we will install 105 more. Meanwhile, 15 state-of-the-art super-fast charging complexes will be built in addition to that.”
The popularity of battery powered cars has increased exponentially in recent years. And not only abroad, where sales of electric cars are predicted to grow by 35 percent in 2023. According to last year, more than 10,000 electric vehicles have already been registered in Belarus. 
Hence the increase in power consumption by charging stations for electric vehicles. In 2022 alone, this figure increased by more than a third compared to 2021, from 10 to 14 million kWh. The positive dynamics continues in 2023: in four months, electricity consumption by charging stations increased by 6 percent.
This means that more and more people prefer an environmentally friendly and economical mode of transport.
The implementation of the Comprehensive Programme for the Development of Electric Transport, among other things, includes work on the development of the component base, Aleksandr Ogorodnikov recalled, much attention is paid to it, 
“We are pleased to say that more and more Belarusian components appear in our passenger electric transport every year. And we don’t feel vulnerable to unfriendly countries.”

By Vera Arteaga
Photos by belta, Yegor Yermalitsky