Russian electric SUV launches on domestic market

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Russian electric vehicle maker MotorInvest has launched production of its latest SUV model, the Evolute i-SKY, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

The vehicle, a mid-size crossover SUV with a range of over 500km on a single charge, will be assembled by MotorInvest at a factory in Lipetsk Region. The car is already available to order, with prices starting from nearly 4 million rubles ($45,000), according to the manufacturer’s website.

MotorInvest started production of electric vehicles in Russia in September 2022. Its Evolute brand also includes vehicles such as the i-Pro sedan, i-JOY compact crossover, and i-VAN minivan. All the cars are based on Chinese models made by Dongfeng and Sokon.

The Russian company has said it expects to sell a total of 7,500 cars this year and 12,000 vehicles in 2024.

Up until 2019, the factory in Lipetsk Region had assembled cars for Chinese brands Great Wall and Changan. It has the capacity to produce more than 100,000 electric cars annually.

The Russian automotive industry, which was heavily reliant on investment and equipment from abroad, suffered a crisis last year due to the exodus of foreign manufacturers amid Ukraine-related Western sanctions.

However, Chinese brands have since filled the void left by departing Western carmakers. Production was launched recently at a plant in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which previously assembled German BMWs and South Korean Hyundai and Kia cars.

Another Russian car brand, the iconic Moskvich, also produces an electric compact crossover SUV with a range of 410km at a former Renault factory in Moscow.

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