Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has initiated a project, backed by the government, to mass produce the world's cheapest hybrid vehicle. The ambitious plans call for construction of a plant in the Russian city of Togliatti, the release of two prototype models by the end of next month and the launch of a production version in 2012. Initially, Prokhorov targeted a price of $10,000 for his hybrid vehicle, but reports now suggest that a price tag between $12,000 and $14,000 is the new goal. Even with the price hike, Prokhorov's natural gas hybrid city car, assuming that everything goes as planned, could become one of the world's cheapest hybrids. While we remain skeptics of Prokhorov's project, there are some new images and additional vehicles specs that suggest the planned hybrid city car might actually be inching closer to production.

Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim group enlisted the help of truck manufacturer Yarovit to produce the city car hybrid. Designer Vladimir Cesler drew up the first images of the city car, which will be offered in both hatchback and coupe versions. Final design decisions are up to online voters who are urged to visit Prokhorov's blog and make their desires known.

The natural gas-electric hybrid should tip the scales at less than 1,500 pounds and is said to achieve around 65 miles per gallon. Accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour could take anywhere from eight to 14 seconds dependent upon "modifications" and maximum speed is listed at 74 miles per hour. At this point, Prokhorov's hybrid city car is still nothing more than a plan with a few detailed renderings and we're still going to hold out for some running prototypes before we decide whether to remove our cloak of skepticism. Check out Prokhorov's City Car Blog for more pics.

[Source: Autopia | Image: City Car Blog]

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