Central regions | Finance, business | Technology & innovation

Sberbank to breathe new life in deceased Russian hybrid?

16 Feb '21
Sberbank, Russia’s largest savings bank, has taken over Yo-Engineering, the developer of a widely touted and then abandoned Russian hybrid car project called Yo-Mobil, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported.

Yo-Engineering CEO is Andrei Ginzburg who once led the development of the Yo-Mobil. Prior to the deal the owner of Yo-Engineering was KG Impex, an electric vehicle developer based in Belarus.

Sberbank has reportedly confirmed the closing of the transaction; no information regarding its value has been disclosed at this stage.

The bank expects to use the newly acquired team and its competencies to support the development of Sberbank’s self-driving technology platform called Sber Automotive Technologies (SberAutoTech).

SberAutoTech has been growing so far on the skills of what used to be an automotive ecosystem development team at Yandex, one of Russia’s largest technology companies. In late 2020, testing began in Moscow for its inaugural batch of autonomous vehicles on the chassis of the Kia Ceed cars. At the same time, Sberbank and Cognitive Technologies, another Russian developer of self-driving technologies, pulled the plug on their joint autonomous vehicle project called Cognitive Pilot; the absence of government regulation of self-driving programs was cited as the key reason.

The Yo-Mobil’s history dates back to 2010 when Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire and banking tycoon, announced the ambitious project with an estimated ˆ150m price tag. There was little luck down the road, though. Deadlines were pushed back repeatedly, and in April 2014 Mr. Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Group officially turned its back on the failed project. A sharp rise in overall costs was to blame, ONEXIM said then.
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