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Russia begins mass production of all electric car.

From Reuters

Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov won early backing from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for his plan to start mass production of electric cars, Putin’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

Russia is seeking to modernize its commodity-based economy, which was hit hard by the global crisis when energy prices fell, and wants to achieve growth in technology sectors where it believes it may have some competitive advantage.

“Putin listened very attentively and wanted to see this project discussed in detail with all the ministries involved as soon as possible,” Peskov told reporters without elaborating on the details of the plan.

Industry professionals who had seen the early design of Prokhorov’s car told Reuters that the vehicle would be a Golf-class sedan with a body made from plastic. They said Prokhorov was ready to provide project financing for two years.

They said the target price for the car would be around 8,800 euros and it would be a pure electric vehicle as opposed to a hybrid, which runs on both a conventional engine and battery-powered electricity.

Prokhorov’s Onexim Group currently has no car production facilities. It was not immediately clear whether Prokhorov planned acquisitions or partnerships to complete the project or whether he had asked Putin for funding.

Electric car enthusiasts say that current battery technology has advanced significantly from that of earlier models, making electric cars cost-efficient. Russia’s vast defense sector has some expertise in making batteries.