Ford will become the first automaker to launch mass production of electric vehicles in Russia, Kommersant reported.
The U.S. auto giant, through a joint venture with Russian company Sollers, will begin producing electric versions of its Ford Transit pickup trucks at a plant in the Russian republic of Tatarstan from 2022, a company representative told the newspaper.
Sollers predicts that about 4% of Russia’s light commercial vehicle market will be electric vehicles by 2025 and is pressing the government to increase support for electric vehicles in major Russian cities. He suggested dedicated road lanes, free travel, and unlimited access to urban centers, schemes already adopted in many other cities around the world.
The plant will be the first in Russia to produce electric vehicles for the mass market.
Sollers said he expects strong demand for electric trucks from fast-growing online retail companies in Russia, which are investing heavily in logistics and infrastructure. The company said electric vans can be 40% more efficient and 20% cheaper than diesel engine equivalents.
However, he warned that deployment is likely to be slow and expects only a handful of Russia’s most densely populated cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, to be ready for electric vehicles over the next five years.