A hybrid from Russia with 'eco' love

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has invested in the production of Russia's first hybrid vehicle line up, called E-Mobile.

A Russian billionaire has forged a joint venture to produce the country’s first hybrid vehicles, which are set to hit the market sometime during the second half of 2012.

Up to 10,000 vehicles will be manufactured per year in a new US$200 million assembly plant, according to the Associated Press. Concept vehicles were shown to international press in Moscow today.

Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim group, a financial holding company, is partnering up with Russian truck maker Yarovit-Motors to form a brand called E-Mobile. The E-Mobile lineup will include a two-door sport coup, cargo van, and mini-van.

Prokhorov owns a variety of interests, including the New Jersey Nets professional basketball team. He amassed his fortune in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, obtaining a large stake in the country’s precious metals sector.

The brand’s use of the letter “ё,” which is uniquely Russian, signifies good luck, and is meant to convey national pride, according to the POPSOP marketing blog. However, Russians may not be so easily sold on environmentally stewardship, Simon Moriarty, studio design director at Fitch told POPSOP.

E-Mobile is a remarkable change from archetypal Soviet vehicle designs of the past, and is demonstrative of the rapid growth of Russia's auto industry, which now produces high end luxury cars for the international market.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com