SKOPJE -- In Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, a small light blue car, reminiscent of bygone Communist times, silently zips through the streets in the first major attempt in the Balkan country to produce its own electric vehicle.
It is the brainchild of Skopje-based BB Classic Cars, a local company which restores vintage cars and now converts some of them to electric ones with help from a government innovation fund partly aimed at promoting greener technologies.
North Macedonia, which wants to join the European Union where tighter emissions rules are due to come into force in 2020, is battling major pollution mainly from car emissions and heating coal. It is planning to introduce subsidies for purchases of less polluting or zero-emission cars.
BB Classic Cars converted the Zastava 750, an upgraded license-built Fiat 600 popular across the now-defunct Yugoslavia, replacing its gasoline engine with an electric motor.