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The Russian makers of the AK-47 are building an electric car to “compete” with Tesla

  • Michael J. Coren
By Michael J. Coren

Climate and emerging industries editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Russia’s most famous gun-maker thinks it can build an electric car.

Kalashnikov, known for its eponymous automatic assault rifle, launched a tiny electric hatchback car at a military expo in Moscow this week. The car, called the CV-1, builds off a 1970s hatchback design known as the “Izh-Kombi,” according to Kalashnikov’s website (in Russian). The dowdy car will have a range of 217 miles (350 km), accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (roughly 62 mph) in six seconds, and carry a “revolutionary inverter” to convert electricity from direct to alternating current. By contrast, Tesla’s base $35,000 Model 3 has a 310-mile range and can reach 100 km/h in less than four seconds.

Why would an arms-maker build an electric car? There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer. When asked by Russian news site RBC what advantages the car would have over a Tesla, Sofia Ivanova, a Kalashnikov spokesperson, could not say how its vehicle would outperform rivals. Kalashnikov makes military vehicles for the Russian government, but it’s unlikely to have the funding and expertise to emerge as a market leader in consumer vehicles. Economic sanctions banning many Russian exports will only complicate matters.

But Kalashnikov still believes it’ll be able to compete with Tesla, eventually. “We are talking about competing precisely with Tesla, because at present it is a successful project in the field of electric vehicles,” Ivanova told RBC. ”We expect to at least not give in to [Elon Musk].”

Here’s the CV-1 in all its… glory:


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