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PHOTO CAPTION: Mikhail Prokhorov has estimated wealth in 2008 of US$14.1 billion.

Russian Billionaire to Launch Electric Car Project

Investment seen as part of Russian effort to rid its dependence on raw material exports and switch to a knowledge-based, innovative economy.

Published: 21-Jan-2010

Russian multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov plans to launch mass production of inexpensive electric cars in Russia and has already received the backing of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a business daily reported on Wednesday.

Kommersant said that Prokhorov, ranked by Russia's Finans magazine as the country's richest man with an estimated wealth of $14.1 billion in 2008, plans to produce a Golf-class sedan with a target price of about 8,800 euros ($12,500) in partnership with the St. Petersburg-based truck maker Yarovit.

The project of electric car production will be the first project of this kind in Russia, which is seeking to rid its dependence on raw material exports and switch to a knowledge-based, innovative economy.

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The range limitations of most early electric cars will matter less in tightly packed urban areas, where the daily driving distance is likely to be much shorter than in the suburbs or rural areas.

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