The Soviet Union Mass Produced a Soviet-Style Electric Car Way Before Tesla

People admire the rise of electric cars these days. The Tesla Model S is said to be revolutionary and to have changed the way electric cars are marketed and accepted in the world. Every brand is trying to come up with its own electric car. However, the Soviet had one back in 1980s. The Soviet state commission approved car manufacturer AvtoVAZ's attempt to create an electric vehicle and recommended that the car industry start producing electric cars en masse. So, in the years 1980-81, the first Soviet electric car was produced, and over 50 cars were made in that first production run. The model was designated “VAZ 2801”. The aluminum body hosted nickel zinc batteries, and to service the batteries there was a special hatch in place of the rear door. Some of the cars were used by post offices in Moscow, but most were sent to Ukraine, where they were used as service vehicles. The 35hp engine could go for more than 80 miles on a single charge, with the car reaching a top speed of 55mph. However, there was little to no infrastructure of charging stations at that time in the USSR, so the idea wasn't totally feasible. Also, the initial cost of production turned out to be greater that the Soviet officials thought it would be, so they started slowing down the project of mass production of electric vehicles in the USSR. The LADA factory was given an order to continue research in terms of improving electric cars.