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Monday, July 14, 2014

Russia's new tram is a Batmobile on the outside, tech hub on the inside

Uralvagonzavod's Russia One commuter train
Many trams are memorable, but they tend to evoke nostalgia rather

than embrace the future. You can't accuse UralVagonZavod (UVZ) of being

behind the times with its new Russia One,

though. To begin with, it looks like the Batmobile on a closed track

-- and for good reason. The forward-tilted windshield helps the

conductor spot pedestrians, while the glass composite panels are easy to

replace. The tram is cutting-edge on the inside, too. Dynamic LED

lighting and music change the cabin mood to suit the time of day.

You'll also find positioning (GPS and GLONASS), air conditioning,

anti-bacterial hand rails and WiFi. The driver even gets a USB 3.0 port

that can keep a phone powered up.

Don't count on hopping aboard one of these mass transit marvels when

they go into production, which should be sometime in 2015. As the

Russia One name implies, this machine is partly about national pride;

UVZ believes the vehicle will primarily be used in major Russian cities.

Exports to Eastern Europe and South America aren't more than

possibilities at this stage. Nonetheless, it's a big step forward for a

form of public transportation that doesn't get a lot of love -- and

it's probably the first tram that would make Bruce Wayne proud.

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