At first glance we approached this news with a little skepticism, given the name of the vehicle being Hamster. However, according to Promotor.ro, it's a research project from The University of Pitesti in Romania as part of environmental program for alternative propulsion systems seeking to engineer a powertrain that produces CO2 of only 99 g/km.
Dubiously called the Hamster, although it's the current Dacia Sandero Stepway, it features a 1.2-liter diesel-electric plug-in hybrid engine with 75 hp (55 kW) and 100 Nm of torque powering the front wheels while a 10hp electric motor, clearly visible in the photos, runs in parallel while connected to the rear wheels. The system is called E-4WD (Electricway-4WD). Furthermore, it has photovoltaic cells placed on the roof plus a start/stop system.
Despite its experimental nature, some outlets are reporting Renault Dacia will indeed produce this vehicle which will sell for around €10,000 and come with a customer-reassuring 4 year warranty. It is expected to debut around 2012.
Again, we're skeptical but the rest of the story sounds believable enough, but that name... Don't hamsters have short tails?