The company, EVC, will make the models, called the R3 and R7, from Skoda Roomster utility vehicles. The R3 will have an electric motor that will supply 40 horsepower and a single-charge range of about 90 miles, while the R7 will have about 87 horsepower with a single-charge range of about 110 miles. EVC has been converting Škoda's for years.
EVC, which hasn't disclosed pricing on the vehicles, is one of the few Eastern European countries looking at building advanced-powertrain vehicles. Even in 2015, when electric vehicles sales in North America, Asia and Europe are expected to have surged, Eastern Europe will account for only about 1,500 battery-electric vehicle sales, according to estimates from green research firm Pike Research.
In fact, the Eastern Europe automotive industry has shown little signs of jumping into hybrid-electric vehicle production because of the combination of higher costs and heavier cars. One of the exceptions so far is Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, whose Onexim Group, along with Russia-based truckmaker Yarovit, planned to invest about $200 million in a hybrid-vehicle making factory for a company called Yo-auto. Those cars have been estimated to cost somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 once the automaker starts production later this year.