,FILE PHOTO: Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in the Moscow International Business Centre, also known as "Moskva-City", in Moscow, Russia July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian small private carmaker Zetta is designing an electric car and plans to launch production this year, Russia's Industry and Trade minister, Denis Manturov, said on Friday.
The auto industry in Russia, a global oil and gas exporter, has no successful electric car projects at present and analysts see slim prospects in the near future primarily due to poor charging infrastructure.
There were 5,960 electric cars sold in Russia last year including 687 new ones, and the entire fleet of electric cars in the country is just over 10,000, according to the Autostat analytical agency,
Zetta, a startup carmaker based in Tolyatti, the home of AvtoVaz, which produced the Soviet and Russian Lada, is designing a series of electric vehicles, including an urban car and a commercial cargo vehicle, the company's website says.
"We expect that they will start (production) before the end of the year, but it depends on how the development work is completed," Manturov said, without providing details.
"The project deserves attention, but given that the presented model is experimental, it needs to be completed," the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a statement.
Denis Shchurovsky, director and co-owner of Zetta, declined to comment.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow; Editing by Tom Balmforth and Matthew Lewis)