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Things Vladimir Putin Wouldn’t Mind Doing Include Driving a Tesla

Although the Cold War seems like a distant memory, tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East put Vladimir Putin near the top of the world’s most talked-about and controversial leaders. Despite everything, the Russian president’s popularity is high in his country, and beneath the poker face, you’ll find a Tesla fan.
Vladimir Putin and Tesla Model 3 26 photos
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On the sidelines of an energy forum held in Moscow, Bloomberg had a chat with the Kremlin leader about all things energy. One of the questions the American publication asked Putin came in the form of cars, with the 65-year-old president replying, “Why not?” to driving a Tesla electric vehicle. Putin didn't say if he fancies the Model 3, Model S or the Model X.

“What do you think -- that we’ll only be riding in carts or something? No, we won’t be riding in carts. Or on tanks?” Despite his appreciation for the Fremont-based electric vehicle maker, Vladimir Putin likes any sort of “light, fast and efficient [electric] vehicles,” including from Japanese automakers. But all in all, Putin still prefers internal combustion over electricity.

Even though EVs don’t produce any sort of CO2 or NOx during operation, the truth of the matter is, the electricity needed to charge the battery up comes from power plants that rely on fossil fuels such as coal. Then there’s the matter of lithium, whose production is not exactly eco-friendly. “That’s why a motor fuel such as natural gas, in our view, is ultimately much more environmentally friendly than electric cars,” concluded Putin.

Liquefied petroleum gas, which is called autogas in Russia, is widely used in the country. Many cars sold in Russia are offered from the factory with autogas-fueled engines, with LPG making for more than 10 percent of all motor fuel used in the Russian Federation. When compared to gasoline and diesel, LPG burns a lot cleaner, producing fewer sulfur emissions and no soot.

So even though Vladimir Putin expressed that he doesn’t mind driving a Tesla, it’s best to remember that his preference for LPG might have something to do with the fact Russia has the world’s largest natural gas reserves. And to boot, the Russian Federation is the largest exporter of natural gas.

 
 
 
 
 

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