Recently two different companies came up with similar vehicles which tackle the problem of personal transportation in extreme conditions.
Tatra, the truck specialist in Kopřivnice with assistance from a company in Chile came up the Tatrabus, while Yamalspetsmash, a Russian workshop offering heavy-duty off-road conversions introduced its B-4B A-20
Tatrabus is based on a Tatra Phoenix and it was realised with assistance from Xpatagonia, a Chilean company. It is aimed at tourists who would like to experience the crossing of the Atacama Desert in South America. It is based on a Tatra Phoenix 8×8, which is powered by a 460hp engine and equipped with Paccar MX340 automatic transmission.
Tatrabus can carry 34 passengers including staff. It features three monitors and four cameras, one of which is infrared and allows safe driving at night as well as watching nightlife in the desert. At high altitudes, there is a supply of oxygen with a breathing apparatus for passengers. Inside are two large tanks and one smaller regulator, which together create enough vital gas reserves.
One ride on the set route lasts six hours and the highest point of the planned excursion is at an altitude of 5,700 meters above sea level. The pitfalls of arid wastelands require an experienced driver and proven technology. The Tatrabus (also called Trekker by locals) began its service in Chile in 2nd half of 2018.
Yamal B-4B A-20
In Russia truck-based buses, which are working in extreme conditions have been around since the 1960s. Yamalspetsmash was set up in 2010 with the aim of offering such vehicles in modern times. The new B-4B A-20 is claimed to be working in even more extreme conditions compared to the Tatrabus. The heavy articulated passenger transporter reflects the demanding natural conditions of the Far East, where this unique vehicle operates.
It was originally planned to use a driver’s cab from Kamaz, however eventually the developers opted for the Belarusian supplier MAZ-MAN. The machine is also equipped with a heated superstructure with seats for passenger transport. The closed glass module is separated from the driver’s and passenger’s seats.
The power is coming from a six-cylinder supercharged 6.7 litres engine of power of 207 kW (281 hp) at 2,500 rpm and torque 970 Nm from 1,200 to 1,700 rotation per minute. It is coupled with an automatic six-speed gearbox ZF with a gear ratio of 22.9:1
Looking at the wheel size and ground clearance of the durable chassis, it is no surprise that the manufacturer is trying to impress with the unusual use of the model to transport those interested in an unfriendly landscape. Four R25 off-road tires help to resist burying in soft ground, and a strong reel with a steel cable is available for the emergency. Two-piece articulated construction facilitates easier manoeuvring between insurmountable obstacles.