To paraphrase an old anti-drug campaign, one of Russia's wealthiest men is just saying "nyet" to building what would be the country's first home-produced hybrid-electric vehicle. Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim Group, which first announced the Yo-hybrid line of vehicles in 2010, is walking away from the effort. Onexim is selling the company to the state-owned Nami Institute for a grand total of 1 euro, according to RT News.
The disposal is likely a result of the combination of rising development costs and Russia's weakening automobile market. Onexim is said to have already spent 100 million euros ($138 million) on research and development, with estimates that completing the project would cost somewhere in the 450-million euro ($621-million) range. All that for a car that was expected to sell for as little $10,000.
Onexim first set a 2012 date for the hybrid's public debut and Prokhorov said the company's St. Petersburg factory would be able to crank out as many as 90,000 Yo-hybrid vehicles annually. Instead, the project was pushed back that year to early 2015. Last year, production estimates for the model, which was designed to get 67 miles per gallon and have a top speed of 75 miles per hour, were cut in half.