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Electric cars in an oil-rich country | Russia & India Report

Eco-friendly cars are still not popular in Russia, due to their high price, the lack of charging stations and insufficient state support. RIR attempts to find out if they are needed at all in the capital of the world’s second largest oil producer.
Darya Kalikina, specially for RIR
July 28, 2013

Source: Darya Kalikina
According to the newspaper Kommersant, on July 22 the Russian postal monopoly Pochta Rossii turned down a contract with the auto group Renault to rent 12 electric cars. This contract, worth 15.9 million rubles ($490,700) was agreed upon prior to a recent change of leadership in the company, and it was later reviewed.
Whereas, at first, Pochta Rossii wanted to purchase 100 electric cars immediately to serve the Sochi Olympics, it became clear after company assessments that the cars would never pay for themselves.
Nevertheless, eco-friendly cars are growing in popularity in Russia — albeit at a far from impressive rate. The first electric car rally took place in Moscow on July 14, and 20 electric cars took part.
The cars, which were powered by electricity instead of gasoline, traveled from the Krasniy Oktyabr center — popular with Moscow’s sophisticated party goers on Bersenev Embankment — to Gorchakova Park in an area southwest of Moscow that recently was incorporated into the city.
Vasiliy Panavits, a representative of one of the organizers of the Ekomotors rally, says his company has been trying to promote the idea of using electric transportation in Russia for the past five years.
In his opinion, the main issue has been the lack of support from the state: “Let’s say the television tells us we will all travel in electric cars, that we can sit behind the wheel of one of these cars ourselves. The tax needs to come off too, and the prices will come down by 30-40 percent, straight away.”


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