The early specs are not promising, however.
Sometimes you find electric vehicle fans in the most unlikely of places. Like Belarus. The former Soviet satellite country has been run by President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. In fact, he's the only person to have ever held the office of president in that country which, technically, kind of makes him a dictator. But he's also an EV fan and a great admirer of Elon Musk. He claims Musk even gave him a Tesla Model S P100D.
Lukashenko is trying to get his fellow countrymen and women to buy EVs, installing 54 charging stations in the capital of Minsk last year. By 2021, he aims to increase that number to 500. Another interesting fact is that Belarus hopes to develop a new EV that can compete with the upcoming second-generation Tesla Roadster.
Lukashenko recently organized an exhibition of EVs by the country's National Academy of Sciences and one of the vehicles on display was an experimental all-electric sports car. It's clearly not a production-ready vehicle just yet, but its developers told website Belta.by that not only is it lightweight and highly maneuverable, but also can reach a top speed of 105 mph. It also has a range of 167 miles on a single charge. Honestly, those aren't very impressive figures.
The new Tesla Roadster, just to compare, will reportedly hit a top speed of over 250 mph and have a range of 620 miles. Clearly, Belarus has a long way to go, but it's still a noble effort so far.
Local researchers are also apparently developing their own lithium-ion batteries as well as graphene batteries, which are currently only sold in China. Why graphene? Because they're cheaper than lithium-ion. But Lukashenko believes his scientists will soon achieve a major technological breakthrough where the two battery types will be equal in terms of efficiency.
But there's another reason why Lukashenko is so interested in EV and battery technology: weapons. He wants to see future unmanned fighter drones powered by batteries produced locally. Something tells us Lukashenko's Tesla-fighting goals won't be achieved.