While dealing with the crowds and the creeps on public transportation may get on your nerves, it is usually the best way to save time and money. And last week, a Russian company unveiled a new futuristic streetcar that would make any weary commuter excited to go to work in the morning.
The next-generation streetcar looks like something out of a sci-fi movie with its trapezoidal shape and sleek black exterior. Click below to read more about the so-called “iPhone on rails” and which lucky cities are getting the tram of tomorrow!
After teasing the public with concept photos, the Russian tank and train maker Uralvagonzavod debuted a prototype of the Russian One, or R1, streetcar at an industrial trade fair in the central Russian city of Ekaterinburg. The sharp angles and matte silver accents give the R1 a look that is completely unlike the streetcars running on any light rail system today. Just looking at the concept photos make you want to add your own sci-fi sound effects.
▼ This is not a scene from the newest Star Trek movie, but a possible street scene in Russia in the not-too-distant future
But the R1 is not just a pretty train, it has been designed to be one of the safest and most comfortable streetcars in the world. The doors are specially made to be level with the ground so that getting on or off the tram will be quick and simple for all. The seats are also wider than normal streetcar seats and the train can seat between 190 and 270 passengers depending on the specific configuration.
▼ A spacious interior and wide seats make for happy commuters
The poles and handles in the R1 will be treated with a special anti-bacterial coating. A key safety point of the R1 is how the unique shape of the front window will increase the driver’s field of vision by about 30 percent, meaning they can better see traffic or pedestrians around them. The streetcar is also designed to run on uneven rails or rails that have not been used in a while, making it a great option for those cities wanting to update their lackluster light rail systems.
▼ Germophobes, feel free to touch all those anti-bacterial poles
▼ A wide view of the street from the R1 driver’s seat
The R1 even got the attention of Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev who attended the expo and gave the next-generation streetcar his nod of approval. And Denis Manturov, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, even recommended to the company that it seek buyers outside the Russian market and to go globally with the radical design.
▼ Don’t be fooled by the frown, Medvedev is an R1 fan
The company says mass production of the R1 should begin in 2015 and is scheduled to be introduced in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhy Novgorod, Ekaterinburg and Volgorod at a later date. There are also plans to develop a version of the R1 that can be used underground. Since Russia will be hosting the 2018 World Cup, soccer fans may get a chance to ride the R1 then.
Many Japanese netizens were disappointed at first to not see any cities in their country on the list, but hope that the sci-fi streetcar will be in their city soon. Around the world, the R1 has already been dubbed the “Batmobile” streetcar and some have even compared it to the 1982 classic movie Tron.
Which cities should this futuristic tram go to next and do you think a ride on the R1 every morning would improve your commute? Check out the video below of a Russian news report on the R1 to get a closer look at the streetcar and let us know what you think!