How Ukrainians Created the Worlds First Off Road Bus
Leading Ukrainian business news website, www.epravda.com.ua have released an article about Torsus and how we became the creators of the world’s first off road bus. Below follows a translation of the article with links to the original.
How Ukrainians Created the World’s First Off Road Bus
The EP learned how Ukrainians managed to create the world’s first off road bus, within a year, and why they want to buy it in the US, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, Georgia and New Zealand.
From a sketch to a finished bus in just one year – the Ukrainian company, Pulsar Expo, has created the world’s first off road bus, the Torsus Praetorian. The vehicle is unique, not only through its futuristic design, but also in the European Union, where the bus completes certification, there is no “off road bus” category. The European certification body had to apply to the European Commission to open a new category. Now Pulsar Expo is at the stage of bus transfer to small-scale production. With 8 vehicles already built, another 17 are in the process of assembly.
In parallel, the company is in talks with representatives of car factories in the US, Turkey and Ukraine, on the launch of large scale production. Requests for a bus have already arrived from the US, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Bangladesh and New Zealand.
Automotive Conversion Experts
In 2014 the Pulsar Expo Company was founded by Ukrainian couple, Vakhtang Dzukashvili and Yulia Khomich.
Vakhtang is a native of the automotive world. He was a corporate car dealer, advised industry companies and engaged in car conversion. Yulia is a lawyer in the field of international law. She worked in major law firms, then founded her law firm.
“Vakhtang and I have decided to join forces: my experience with international projects and his experience with cars” she says.
So too has Pulsar Expo. The company is engaged in the supply of special vehicles in the framework of international technical assistance.
The clients of the company are the US Government structures, in particular the State Department (Regional Procurement Office, US Embassy) and the US Department of Defense. In addition, the company’s customers are United Nations structural divisions.
The Government of the United States and the United Nations are regularly conducting tenders for the provision of technical assistance to various countries. Pulsar Expo takes part in such tenders and wins. By the results of 2016-2017, the company has concluded contracts for a total amount of more than $20 million.
“We deliver any vehicles, except for tracked vehicles,” says Vakhtang. “From regular sedans to personalised trips, modified pickups and endless four-wheelers, to use in extreme conditions.”
“In addition, we often carry out conversion of vehicles. A typical truck is not needed by anyone. We make a lot of superstructures, for example, we collect a repair an evacuation truck or a wheeled excavator. This is a very complex and specific conversion, and we’re doing it. ”
Demand is Global
The idea to create an SUV was created by analyzing Pulsar Expo customer requests. The geography of car delivery by the company implies a country with a poorly developed infrastructure.
“When donor organisations order five SUVs that should ride in a column from point A to point B, we understand that this is done only because they do not have a technical solution,” explains Vakhtang. “In terms of the use of five SUVs – it’s unprofitable.”
In addition to the public sector, Ukrainians are in contact with companies producing oil and gas. There are popular truck buses made on the basis of trucks. According to Vakhtang, these buses are terrible, but there is no alternative.
There is a demand for off-road buses from mining companies from Canada and Australia. Operational areas are located a considerable distance from the workers’ place of residence, and people need to be brought there.
However, Pulsar Expo does not intend to restrict the bus format. The company already has demand from the part of Georgia and New Zealand on a ski-bus design – off road transportation for groups of skiers with an outfit.
Bangladesh wants to buy 105 buses – SUVs, including – in the “fast” version. This is the only technique that can carry up to 12 heavy-wounded people in a lying position in conditions of complete impassability. There it is actual taking into account frequent floods and earthquakes.
In the US, the Ukrainians see great potential in the segment of campers.
“When a person buys a camper, they want a bit of freedom. In a camper, people go to the forest or to the mountains. Yes, you have more freedom, but you are still limited by the wheel formula 4×2 and the disadvantages of a regular big bus. We offer the maximum freedom with our vehicle” says Vakhtang.
From which the off road bus is collected
Seeing that the market of off road traffic was occupied by off road cars and recycled trucks, the Ukrainians decided to create an off road bus.
According to Yulia, the difference between a conversion from a truck to an off road bus is that the re-equipment is always a compromise. The Torsus Praetorian was originally built as an off road bus.
The fundamental difference in the Torsus Praetorian is that the body trim is not metal, but made of composite materials. They are lighter than metal, which allow you to make a wider range of shapes, but most importantly – composite materials do not rust.
This is especially important given the difficult operating conditions. Roads are sprinkled with salt, often fine crushed stone is found on the road, which destroys the metal coating, leading to the appearance of rust.
The bus is created from a blank sheet: the couple ordered a sketch designer to a foreign designer. They pushed him away during the development.
The production of the Praetorian bus, like any other automobile production, is a peculiar designer: the bus is assembled from the finished components. All nodes are made at factories of the EU and the USA. Many of the units – engine, chassis, gearbox, brakes – are produced by MAN.
However, the contribution of the Ukrainian company to the development of the bus is still significant. “The design of the bus is ours. We are developing molds – a master-model, a saucepan, an assembly line and then we give it all outsourcing. Outsourcing companies produce spare parts for us” says Vakhtang.
Now engineers at Pulsar Expo are collecting buses in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital. For this purpose, the company leases production space. The number of people in the team of developers and collectors are not disclosed by the founders of the company, as well as the value of investment.
The company has not yet signed deals for the delivery of its off road bus, although there are a lot of requests. For example, one oil company wants to buy 70 such vehicles.
The Government of Bangladesh is ready to buy 105 buses and asks for detailed documentation. While these inquiries hang in the air, because there is no corresponding capacity for such parties.
Pulsar Expo completes certification of the bus in the EU according to the Euro 6 standard. It remains to get a certificate on the chassis. According to Vakhtang, this will take three months. After that, the company will be able to register the bus in any EU country and in any country in the world that recognises the EU certificate.