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In Russia’s Wild East, An Electric Car Proves Cheaper Than a Lada

With Asia literally next door, Khabarovsk benefits from used EV imports and from market forces that make the second-hand plug-ins desirable.

More than a fifth of all electric vehicles imported to Russia between January and May were sold in Khabarovsk and other areas of eastern Russia.

More than a fifth of all electric vehicles imported to Russia between January and May were sold in Khabarovsk and other areas of eastern Russia.

Photographer: Getty Images
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When Dmitry Unagaev bought his first electric car five years ago, the purchase bewildered friends and neighbors in his hometown of Khabarovsk. But a lot has changed since then. Today, the city in Russia’s Far East is full of battery-powered autos.

“These cars are almost at every turn,” said Unagaev, 31, who owns an auto service shop. Across the city, the vehicles are parked on the streets and in courtyards. People even hang power sockets from their balconies to charge the vehicles, Unagaev said.