Putin test drives Russia's first hybrid car to presidential meeting

The Russian prime minister takes the Yo-mobile for a spin, a book that costs more than a Ferrari, Sly Stallone is reunited with his car, and more local and international motoring news.

epa02664247 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) sits at the wheel of the new Yo-Mobile car while listening to explanations of Yarovit  (name of producer) director general Andrei Biryukov outside Moscow, Russia, 01 April 2011. Yo-mobile is a new Russian car platform with a hybrid engine, promoted by Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov.  EPA/ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/POOL MANDATORY CREDIT: RIA NOVOSTI /*** NO SALES NO ARCHIVES NOT FOR USE AFTER 01 MAY 2011*** *** Local Caption ***  02664247.jpg
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Bling book from Ferrari

Would you like a book on Ferrari or an actual Ferrari? You'd think the cheaper option would be the book, but maybe not if you opt for the Ferrari Opus Enzo Diamante Edition.

The tome, weighing in at 37kg and running to 852 pages, costs more than Dh1 million.

Each edition is encased in a black, holographic carbon fibre clamshell. On the cover is the yellow Ferrari racing shield accompanied by a country name; they are limited to just one edition per country, so you'd better act fast if you're interested.

Bound in leather - you choose the colour - the cover features a 16 x 12cm 32.3-carat diamond-encrusted silver Prancing Horse studded with approximately 1,500 stones.

Each Enzo Diamante edition is personally signed by Ferrari drivers, past and present, on an individually numbered, silver-foiled signature sheet. The centrefold is a 1961 250 GT California Spider photographed by Rankin. If that is not enough, each buyer is entered into a raffle to win one of only five F2005 replica single seaters ever built by Ferrari.

There are two other limited editions of the book and the classic version. Available from www.krakenopus.com.

Putin drives the hybrid Yo-mobile to meeting with Medvedev

The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drove Russia's first hybrid car to a meeting with the country's president, Dmitry Medvedev, last week.

The Yo-mobile was created by Yo-auto, a completely Russian joint venture project between truck manufacturer Yarovit and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim group. Prokhorov sat in the passenger seat as Putin drove the five kilometres between venues.

The car uses a rotary engine and ultra capacitators, an energy-storing device seen as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries. "Lithium-ion batteries are a mistake, a dead-end," the car's developer, Andrei Biryukov, told Reuters news agency.

Prokhorov, who believes the car could bring Russia a competitive edge in the global automotive industry, said the Yo-mobile will go into production in the second half of 2012, and expects to produce 10,000 cars a year. The car will burn 3.5L of fuel per 100 km and will cost about 450,000 roubles (Dh52,000), according to the company.

Stronach set to go electric

The Magna International founder and chairman, Frank Stronach, will step down after the company's annual meeting in May, and will focus on electric vehicles.

Stronach started the auto parts company as a one-man tool-and-die shop in a garage in Toronto, Canada, in 1957. It's now a firm with 96,000 employees that expects revenues of around US$27 billion (Dh99bn) this year.

"My own personal view is that Frank's taking all of those same features [that he brought to Magna] and he's going to apply them to the electric car," Dennis Mills, a former vice president of Magna and chief executive of the company's real estate arm, MI Developments, where he's now vice chairman, told the Reuters news agency.

"That's where his passion is. And when he has a focus, it's like a laser," Mills added.

Last year, Stronach traded his controlling shares of Magna for $300 million, new equity in the company, four years of lucrative consulting fees, and control of E-Car, in which he holds a 27 per cent stake (Magna holds the balance). Magna introduced an electric car last year designed to showcase the parts and technology it could offer; the company also helped Ford develop its Focus electric car.

German Green Party could force Porsche drivers to hit the brakes

The autobahns in the home state of car manufacturers Porsche and Daimler AG (DAI)'s Mercedes-Benz unit could be hit with a speed limit, according to Bloomberg, after the Green Party's election win in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The Greens helped defeat Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition in a regional election last week on a platform that included 120kph speed limits to reduce emissions - about 65 per cent of the state's motorways have no speed limit.

"Traffic in Baden-Wuerttemberg contributes around 30 per cent to carbon dioxide emissions," Winfried Kretschmann, who is poised to become the Greens' first state premier, said on the party's website. "It's clear that the transportation sector has to make a contribution of its own to reduce this gas that's harmful to the environment."

The Greens also favour "more efficient engines," the development of cars that use less petrol, city tolls and tax breaks for environmentally friendly vehicles.

Stallone reunited with film car 17 years after theft from garage

The movie star Sylvester Stallone has been reunited with his car after it was reported stolen out of his garage 17 years ago.

The 1950 Mercury was allegedly stolen in 1994 and, TMZ.com reports, somehow got into the possession of a company that provides "on-camera vehicles" for movies.

Stallone found the vehicle by chance on an internet car auction and was shocked that someone had the "temerity" to try to sell the car in public, after he had reported it stolen back in the day.

In the lawsuit submitted to LA County Superior Court Stallone and his lawyer, Marty Singer, began with a quote from Cobra: "Crime is a disease. Meet the cure."

Stallone does not accuse the company of stealing the car, which he claims is worth US$250,000 (Dh918,250), but he wants it back, plus damages of $3m for using his name and image to promote the auction without his permission.