Home » Russia Unveils Ghastly New ‘Amber’ Electric Car Prototype And Oh God, It Looks So Awful

Russia Unveils Ghastly New ‘Amber’ Electric Car Prototype And Oh God, It Looks So Awful

Amber Russian Electric Car Topshot
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It feels like it’s been a while since anyone’s shown off a properly unfortunate car. The Youabian Puma is a decade old, the Ssanyong Rodius is ancient now, and even the VinFast VF8 is at least decent to look at. Well, the dry spell ends now. Researchers in Russia have unveiled a new prototype electric car called the Amber, and oh God it’s hideous.

The Amber is a…thing that’s been built by Moscow Polytechnic University as the forerunner for an impending production car. I know we’re pro-car at The Autopian, but this thing seems like an am-car, a thoroughly amateur attempt at motoring that lacks the grace and talent of, well, any other current automaker on the face of this pale blue dot.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It looks like Postman Pat’s red van had angry sex with a G-Wiz, and nine months later, the end result hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down. It has a panicked face, massive ungainly unbroken surfaces on each bodyside, and it elicits a ton of questions. Why does it sit on its wheels like a wooly mammoth on roller skates? Why does it have two holes on the right side of the body? Why is the bottom of each door two feet off the ground? Did anyone with eyes actually sign off on the styling of the Amber?

Amber Electric Car 2

You might wonder how Russia is managing to build an electric car, considering the sorts of sanctions it’s under right now. Well, major electric drivetrain components like the battery pack, inverter, an electric motor are claimed to be all Russian, a questionable claim when Russia relies on China for lots of electronic things. Allegedly, this car is more about the hardware underneath than the styling, as World Today News reports that ““Avtotor” notes that the future car will look different from the presented test model.” For what it’s worth, the production car will apparently be classified as a heavy quadricycle, so take that information as you will.

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When developing a technological testbed, manufacturers tend to move in one of two directions: Either use a lot of effort to produce a near-production spec body that lets engineers actually test efficiency, or put in no effort at all and chop up an existing car as a mule. This prototype seems to have seen some sweat go into making it look positively hideous. Make no mistake, despite the windscreen and side mirrors seemingly sourced from another car, the Amber was styled like this on purpose.

Amber Electric Car 1

As per Russian automotive website Auto, “Production of Amber in Kaliningrad should begin in 2025.” Claims of mass production in 2025 seem dubious, especially if this technological testbed isn’t virtually identical to the finished product. Ford took nearly three years to go from the unveiling of an electric F-150 prototype to the start of F-150 Lightning production, and that thing borrows the bulk of its bodywork from an existing vehicle. To go from something that scares small animals to a production car in about two years? Sure, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Make no mistake, the Amber is a deeply unfortunate vehicle, likely reflecting the terrible conditions that led to its birth. It’s less attractive than an open wound, makes fabulous claims about its technology that most people would be skeptical about, and comes with a bit of backpedaling. Let’s hope the production car looks radically different from the prototype, because it doesn’t seem difficult to do better than this.

(Photo credits: Moscow Polytechnic University)

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Larry Brennan
Larry Brennan
3 months ago

It’s the Electro-Lada.

Marty
Marty
3 months ago

Remember to put it in H

Day One Dave
Day One Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  Marty

-Crazy Vaclav

KevFC
KevFC
3 months ago

With the addition of tail fins, it would look just fine.

Bite Me
Bite Me
3 months ago

Y’know, you take that and chop a foot slice out of the middle and it’d look like a funkier EV HHR, but as-is it looks like it just found out it’s allergic to bee stings

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago

In Soviet Russia, Multipla owns you.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
3 months ago

It’s the result of a ‘special design operation’. It invades our good taste and makes war to aesthetics. But you’re not supposed to say that out loud.

Rafael
Rafael
3 months ago

My guesses on the unknown design elements:

1) The clips on the front end are there to hold the “hood” in place, and without them the front would fall off. Which would be a HUGE improvement – they might even tow it out of the environment.

2) The “skateboard” (more like a brick) is some sort of modular platform where they can “clip” a body, like a Lego, going from hatch to sedan to who am I kidding, of course this is just a tall stack of lead batteries!
3) The hole on the front face is a charger port for the batteries, whatever tech they might be (I’m betting 5,329 single use vape batteries in series).
4) The hole in the back is for the fuel tank that powers the actual drivetrain hidden in the back. It has an electric powertrain and it moves under its own power, but no one said the two should be connected!

Brynjaminjones
Brynjaminjones
3 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

I very much appreciated the “tow it out of the environment” reference.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

+1 for the john clarke reference

Jakob Johansen
Jakob Johansen
3 months ago

The height of the side panels, is very close to the height of standard lead acid modules.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
3 months ago

It looks like a pufferfish

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
3 months ago

That’s it! I knew that it looked familiar.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago

No,it looks like a pufferfish that’s looked in a mirror

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
3 months ago

The only reason I can see for the doors starting so high up MIGHT be a way of allowing battery swapping – notice the panels below each door span the whole distance between the wheel arches and appear separate from the panels above. It’s vaguely possible these panels might be designed to give access to a swappable battery under the floor.
But it’s probably more likely the floor of the designer’s studio is littered with empty vodka bottles.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
3 months ago

I suspect this was designed to haul around pet bears Russians are so fond of.

05LGT
05LGT
3 months ago

So much “why” and “just… NO!” on 4 pitiful wheels. There are better ways to fit batteries between running gear and passengers. I like lazy when it’s a synonym for efficient, but this didn’t work out. It’s like someone who could order the rest of the team killed said “the battery pack will be as long and wide as the car to maximize range” and the entire rest of the design was working around that stupidity without question. The wheels have to be that small so there’s room to turn them. Etc.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
3 months ago

Call me freaky-deaky, but I REALLY wanna see the inside of that thing.

The48thRonin
The48thRonin
3 months ago

I think it looks like that because it’s actually two cars, that were conjoined then had bodywork draped over them to make it look like one car. Maybe an ev “skateboard” with something else on top, but either way it wasn’t designed as a single system.

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
3 months ago

Congratulations, Thomas!
You squeaked in to get the 2023 Terry Thomas Prize For The Best Use of Ghastly In A Headline!

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Looks better than a Cybertruck

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
3 months ago

You might wonder how Russia is managing to build an electric car, considering the sorts of sanctions it’s under right now. Well, major electric drivetrain components like the battery pack, inverter, an electric motor are claimed to be all Russian, a questionable claim when Russia relies on China for lots of electronic things.

This claim may be questionable, but shouldn’t be entirely dismissed, especially considering this is supposed to be a scientific research project. I work with early stage research and I have noticed a growing output of research on EV-adjacent tech from Russian researchers/institutions. And it makes sense that they’re interested in it, especially from an isolationist standpoint: they certainly don’t want to be left behind in this technological shift, and with sanctions in place they have a lot of research to do to come up with their own tech.

Now, is their science on EV tech any good? No idea, that’s definitely above my pay grade. I am not qualified to make judgements on the contents of any of the hundreds of papers that I scroll through on any given day while helping out these researchers. My educated guess is that they likely face the same type of constraints that scientific research in the Soviet Union faced for much of the country’s existence, so unfortunately a lot of this science may be compromised by political interest.

Noodles Gargamel
Noodles Gargamel
3 months ago

WHAT IN GOD’S NAME?!?!

Steve Lee
Steve Lee
3 months ago

Coming soon, the world’s largest frunk.

121gwats
121gwats
3 months ago

<insert:designismypassion.gif>

Matthew Richardson
Matthew Richardson
3 months ago

This thing is so awful that I kind of respect it. I definitely want one. Make me choose between this or a yugo and I’m taking both.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
3 months ago

Right? I’m starting to kinda like it for how stupid it looks. Although I’d take any running/repairable Yugo on the planet over this for the visibility alone. I’d feel claustrophobic driving this thing.

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