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Russian Yo hybrid said to offer 67mpg, cost under $15k, gets a billionaire's backing

Tim Stevens

Russian entrepreneur Mikhail D. Prokhorov may have big plans for moving the Nets downtown and turning them into the Brooklyn New Yorkers, but another of his big plans will stay a little closer to home. Well, his home anyway. It's the ë, the Cyrillic character "yo," and a funky name for a recently revealed hybrid that has scored the billionaire's support. The ë is a little four-door, four-seater car with a top speed of 80mph and a range of 680 miles, delivered by a hybrid powertrain with two electric motors and a single internal combustion lump. However, unlike the parallel hybrid Prius and the (mostly) series hybrid Volt, both of which rely on expensive and heavy battery packs, the ë will only be able to hold a small charge. Instead the engine, which uses a rotary vane design, will run continuously, spinning a generator and providing the current to turn the wheels. It's an unusual layout for a car, but if it can deliver its supposed 67mpg at its proposed $14,500 MSRP when it's slated to hit the streets of St. Petersburg in 2012, you can call us converts -- and comrades.

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