“I can say that as of now Aurus – and this is no mere figure of speech — is the one and only in the world (in its class) that has a developed laboratory model powered by hydrogen,” Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said at the launch ceremony.
Manturov later said it was possible that the vehicle could in future be mass produced — although he acknowledged this was a long-term prospect.
“First we have to work out the technology and laboratory models and then take stock and get an understanding of just what sort of car it should be adapted to, what the market is and determine consumer demand,” he said.
Manturov said NAMI was working on two other models – a fully electric vehicle and a hybrid.
NAMI’s Marketing Director, Damir Karimov, told the Itar-Tass news agency that the institute was considering different ways of developing the project.
“As of now, Aurus’s current platform is hybrid — and that confirms NAMi’s serious capabilities in developing electrical vehicles. And, of course, by creating such a vehicle and engaging in mass production, we are already thinking of the next generations, the different variants of development,” he told Tass.
“The car presented here in Tatarstan is one of the possible variants of development of the different generations of Aurus. There could also be a fully electric platform. Others are also possible. At the moment, we are working out and selecting optimal decisions.”
The development of an electric Aurus model will take several years.
At the end of May, mass production began in Tatarstan of the Aurus Senat model – with a base price of 18 million roubles ($245,000). The plant has a production capacity of up to 5,000 cars per year.
The Aurus Senat is powered by a 4.4 litre engine. The vehicle is 5.6 metres long and weighs 3.2 tonnes. It has a maximum speed of 250 km/hour and can go from 0 to 100 km/hour in six seconds.
Aurus is the first Russian company to produce top-flight quality cars. Special versions of the car are used by the Federal Guard Service responsible for security during trips undertaken by Russia’s president and prime minister.