According to Auto Evolution, Russia has unveiled its first foray into the electric vehicle (EV) market with the Avtotor Amber, but it’s not exactly winning any beauty contests. The quirky design has led some online commentators to liken it to a washing machine from Ukraine. Despite the unconventional appearance, Avtotor is positioning it as a “Tesla killer,” signaling the nation’s ambition to make a mark in the growing EV industry.
In the backdrop of economic restrictions and industry challenges, the Russian Federation has been striving to revive its car manufacturing sector since the conflict in Ukraine began in February 2022. Western carmakers have been pulling out of the country, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the local industry. Avtotor’s entry into the electric vehicle market represents a bold step in this context.
The Avtotor Amber, while described as an electric “car,” features a design that leaves much to be desired. Its front end is marked by tiny round headlights and a strangely shaped front grille with seemingly superfluous creases. On the passenger’s side, there are not one but two charging ports, a puzzling design choice.
One notable design element is the absence of rear windows, giving the vehicle the appearance of a miniature van. Integrated steps in the sills hint at a potential floor-integrated battery pack, though details about capacity and range remain undisclosed. The vehicle rolls on notably undersized wheels, adding to its unconventional look.
Despite its peculiar design, Avtotor proudly touts the Amber as an all-Russian creation, including the chassis, motors, battery pack, and electronics. Production of this curious EV is scheduled to commence in 2025 at Avtotor’s Kaliningrad plant, which once produced BMW, Ford, and Kia vehicles before sanctions led to the withdrawal of Western automakers.
Online commentators wasted no time drawing comparisons between the Avtotor Amber and the infamous Fiat Multipla, a vehicle that earned the title of the “World’s Ugliest Car” from Top Gear in 2000. Social media users have playfully criticized its design, with some suggesting it resembles a repurposed washing machine on wheels.
While the Avtotor Amber’s aesthetics have drawn ridicule, it represents Russia’s determination to participate in the global shift toward electric vehicles. Its success will depend not only on its appearance but also on its performance, pricing, and ability to compete with established EV manufacturers like Tesla. As the production version of the Amber is expected in a few years, the industry and consumers will be watching closely to see if this Russian-made EV can indeed live up to its “Tesla killer” moniker, or if it will remain an unusual footnote in the history of electric cars.