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Word of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's plans to mass produce the world's cheapest natural gas hybrid minicar ($7,000 to $10,000) leaked out earlier this year. The billionaire's ambitious project calls for the construction of assembly plant in the Russian city of Togliatti starting in January 2011. Prokhorov's investment, a mere €150 million ($201 million U.S. at the current exchange rate), will supposedly fund construction of the facility and production of the the hybrid vehicles.

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. Eve