Russian manufacturer Kalashnikov previewed a retro-inspired electric car called the CV-1 that it wants to take on the current global EV leader Tesla.
Kalashnikov is not a name one would usually associate with cars, let alone futuristic EVs. Made famous by the AK-47 assault rifle, Avtomat Kalashnikov is not just about military equipment and ammunition, but also a whole lot more. For instance, the firm already produces electric Enduro bikes for the Russian police. More recently, the Russian holding company declared its foray into the electric vehicle space with the new CV-1 prototype. To the layman, the CV-1 looks like the Kombi, a car produced by IZH which is one of Kalashnikov's subsidiaries. It also bears a faint resemblance to the infamous Trabant by VEB Saschenring, an East German manufacturer.
The company has pulled off the retro look of the EV rather well, complete with period steel door handles out of the sixties. The prototype looks rather fetching in its pale blue livery, with Kalashnikov saying it is a test bed for their electric drivetrain which was developed in-house. The Kombi has a maximum range of 350km on its 90-kWh battery pack and can hit the ton in roughly six seconds.
Kalashnikov showcased the CV-1 at a gun and armaments show in Russia recently, where it was also joined by a hybrid off-road buggy and the aforementioned electric Enduro motorcycle. The four-seat buggy can reportedly reach a top whack of 100kph and is driven by two electric motors, one for each axle. Heavy-duty hydraulic shock absorbers impart the buggy serious off-road cred. No wonder it is being deployed in the Russian military for its mobility division.
Avtomat Kalashnikov has clearly stated it has Tesla in its sights with its forthcoming range of electric vehicles. The CV-1 is the first of a portfolio of products Kalashnikov has in the offing. Presumably, those new products will also be pressed into service for the Russian military, because AK is after all a military equipment manufacturer. At the same time, it is rather heartening to see a manufacturer far removed from automobiles develop a radical EV that looks like a classic car on the inside while boasting of futuristic tech under the skin.
This is strictly a personal opinion, but if more manufacturers take after Kalashnikov in terms of design, new EVs would be a lot better looking. Motorcycle manufacturers are riding the strong neo-retro wave, there is no reason why carmakers should not. The Kalashnikov CV-1 has a lot going for it- The manufacturer's legacy (not strictly automotive) and a classy design with modern technology underneath. Perhaps the only feature it misses out on is a gun rack to mount the AK-47.