The First and Last Steam-Powered Russian Truck [Photo Gallery]
After World War 2 ended, the economy in Russia and around the world was pretty damaged and gasoline was scarcer and more expensive. Russian haulers had to perform their tasks with small amounts of fuel, and people over in cut-off Siberian areas almost forgot the smell of gasoline.
In 1949, the same year Russia tested its first nuclear bomb, there was another “big” project on the drawing board: a steam-powered truck, designed to overcome the lack of liquid fuel everywhere.
Even if the idea is older than the automobile itself, with first steam-powered cars being produced as far back as 1902, the brave Russian engineers wanted to give it another try.
After some failed models that were powered with fine coal or anthracite, they came up with the idea to use plain wood, as it could be found everywhere in Mother Russia. The end result was named NAMI-012, which featured a boiler behind the cabin and a special designed furnace, allowing the wood to gradually be burned, without the need of a fireman.
The truck was somewhat efficient, producing about 100 hp at 1,250 rpm, reaching a top speed of 40 km/h when fully loaded.
Soon, the project was forgotten, as it had too many disadvantages - too heavy a boiler, water level had to be constantly maintained and adjusted and topped up, the driver had to preheat the water about one hour before driving the machine. Also, further diesel optimization and a reestablished economy made the steam idea obsolete for trucks and it was forgotten.
❐ Check out the Russian Steam Truck photo gallery