The testing involves inspection, start-up, and commissioning of all systems on the 8.4MW 25kV ac freight locomotive.

The 2ES5 is the second locomotive to be developed by TRTrans, a 50:50 joint venture between Alstom and TMH following the dual-voltage 7.2kW EP20 passenger unit, 200 of which have been ordered by RZD.

RZD signed a contract with Alstom and TMH in May 2011 for 200 2ES5 locomotives, and following further tests at RZD's Shcherbinka test circuit near Moscow the first units will enter service at the end of the year. The 2ES5 will primarily operate in Eastern Siberia and the far east of Russia.

According to Alstom, the 2ES5 is the first ac freight locomotive in Russia to feature asynchronous traction motors. Many major components will be manufactured in Russia by RailComp , a second joint company based at Novocherkassk, including bogies and traction systems.