In 1976, Renault famously (or some would say infamously) introduced Le Car. Now, the French automaker is playing a major role in the unveiling of El Lada.
In this case, Renault and sister company Nissan are 50 percent owners of Lada, which is pitching what will be the first Russian-produced battery-electric vehicle, according to Technologic Vehicles.
El Lada, shown below in a five-plus-minute video released by Lada part-owner Avtovaz, is said to have a 60-kilowatt (80-horsepower) electric motor that delivers a top speed of about 80 miles per hour and a single-charge range of about 100 miles. The five-door compact hatchback EV will get its first day-to-day road experience when it's tested by taxis in the city of Stavropol, which is about 100 miles north of the Georgia border in southern Russia.
Lada recently stepped up its profile when it recently hired former Mercedes-Benz senior designer and ex-Volvo chief designer Steve Mattin to run the Russian automaker's design operations. It just showed off its Xray concept car at the Moscow Auto Show.
The automaker has apparently jumped ahead of Yo Auto, which is owned in part by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. That company, which said in late 2010 that it would start producing Russia's first hybrid vehicle by the end of this year, recently backed off that claim and said the car, the Yo Mobile, will not be available until 2015, according to Agence France-Presse.