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An electric car is charged during a demonstration ceremony to launch a charging station owned by the Moscow United Electric Grid Company (MOESK), in Moscow.
Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
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Russia opens a new front in its war with Ukraine—the electric car

By Steve LeVine

The war between Russia and Ukraine has a new front.

Earlier this year, ABB, a Swiss engineering company, announced that it was installing fast electric-car charging stations in Ukraine. The special stations can charge a car in 20 minutes, ABB claims, rather than the hours it usually takes. OKKO, a filling station chain, announced late last year that it will install charging equipment in all 34 of its stations across Ukraine.

Now, not to be outdone, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has issued an order that every Russian filling station should also have electric car chargers. Medvedev didn’t explicitly say that he was acting in response to Ukraine, but then he probably wouldn’t.

If this deployment actually takes place, Russia will be the first country to have such a ubiquitous network. As of now, places like Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands have the broadest national electric car charging networks, relative to their populations. Tesla has some 508 fast-charging stations around the world.

Electric cars haven’t taken off in either Russia or Ukraine—Russia, for instance, has only about 500 electric vehicles in the entire country. But the sparse availability of charging stations, especially fast-charging ones, may be one reason for slow sales. According to chargemap.com, an app for finding charging stations, Russia currently has just 67 charging stations.