Kalashnikov is gunning for Tesla with electric CV-1 car

Infamous weapons maker shows off concept of high-performance battery-powered car

Kalashnikov’s electric car, the CV-1. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Kalashnikov’s electric car, the CV-1. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images


Of all the potential rivals for Tesla, and the rest of the battery car-making glitterati, we certainly never saw this one coming. Kalashnikov, most (in)famous for its iconic (not in a good way) AK-47 assault rifle, has shown off a concept model electric car, the CV-1, with which it intends to take on Elon Musk and his decadent, bourgeoise ways.

Not for Kalashnikov the stage of the Paris motor show, nor an unveiling at a sinuous race track - no, the armaments maker decided to show off its CV-1 concept at a weapons and defence exposition, held just outside Moscow. It was also displaying a massive, bipedal armoured machine, designed to be piloted from within a glazed cockpit atop two mechanical legs, which bears a scary resemblance to the ED-209 robot from Robocop, but that’s possibly for another day.

Looking rather like a cross between a Trabant and an old Ford Cortina, the CV-1 has styling that’s actually inspired by a 1970s car made by Soviet-era manufacturer Izh. While it’s certainly retro in its look (and colour) the CV-1 is potentially packing some very up-to-date technology. The one-charge range is claimed to be as much as 350km, with a 0-100km/h time of around six seconds. Not exactly Tesla Ludicrous Speed territory, but that’s not stopping Kalashnikov from claiming that Elon Musk’s company is in its crosshairs. So to speak.

“This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor,” said a Kalashnikov representative, speaking to Russian news service RIA-Novosti. “We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”

Kalshnikov spokesperson Sofia Ivanova later qualified that statement, saying to Russian media that “We’re talking about competing precisely with Tesla because it’s currently a successful electric vehicle project. We expect to at least keep up with it.

It’s not the first time that Kalashnikov has either made an electric vehicle, nor tried to expand into a marketplace that requires fewer bullets. The company already makes electric motorbikes and off-road buggies, mostly intended for military or police use, but there are some civilian versions too. The company, through its various subsidiaries, also makes such mundane items as umbrellas and mobile phone covers, according to The Guardian.

Kalashnikov also recently signed a deal with Mawarid Holding, a UAE-based investment group that specialises in both defence and civilian products.