Russia Joins EV Race


The largest automaker in Russia, AvtoVAZ, recently unveiled its first prototype electric car for the press at the recent Moscow Auto Show. The vehicle is named El Lada.

In a statement, AvtoVAZ said that the El Lada is “a first in the history of the company”. These new electric vehicles would be used as public transportation taxis in the mountainous Stravpool region in the Russian Caucasus. It is the first prototype under the leadership of Steve Mattin as the chief designer in the Russian car giant. The style of the El Lada EV draws inspiration from the gas powered Lada Kalina, one of the most popular cars in Russian history.

The powertrain is still under wraps but the automaker said that the car can travel a range of 93 miles on a single full charge. The top speed, according to announcements, is at 130 kilometers per hour or about eighty one miles per hour. As for the battery, the El Lada requires eight hours to fully charge the battery on a normal household wall socket.

With this design, the company is allotting low volume production of its first electric car. In previous announcement, AvtoVAZ Vice President for Technical Development Yevgeny Shmelyov, projects that the company would be producing about a hundred El Lada’s in 2012.

One of the major drawbacks of the operation of electric cars in Russia is the very low winter temperatures in many regions of the country. This was identified in a study by the Autostat Analytic Agency and also highlights issues as the lack of a recharging infrastructure, lack of component production and the need to import special components from foreign countries to build the El Lada.

Mr. Igor Komarov, AvtoVAZ President said, brimming with confidence, “AvtoVAZ is different. We have successfully implemented a program of development from the stage of ‘survival’ to the stage of ‘company moves to bring new products to market.’”

He added, “Today we demonstrate future styles of Lada. AvtoVAZ is multibrand and at the end of this year we will start assembling Nissan cars and in 2013 – Renault.”

The public would be able to see Russia’s first electric vehicle when the Moscow Auto Show opens at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center on August 31.