Russian defense firm Kalashnikov has unveiled a retro-looking electric car it says will give Elon Musk's Tesla a run for its money.
Concern Kalashnikov is the largest Russian manufacturing company that produces assault and sniper rifles, guided artillery projectiles and a wide range of precision weapons. The major part of the civilian products includes hunting shotguns, sporting rifles, various machines, and tools.
The Concern contains three brands: “Kalashnikov” (combat and civilian weapons)”, “Baikal” (hunting and civilian guns), and “Izhmash” (sporting rifles); also the Concern is developing new business lines that include remote weapon stations, unmanned aerial vehicles, and multi-functional special-purpose boats.
An electric car is a plug-in electric automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy typically stored in rechargeable batteries.
The brand behind the famous AK-47 assault rifle presented the eggshell-blue prototype vehicle, the CV-1, at an event near the capital, Moscow.
The CV-1 is inspired by a Izh -21252 hatchback “Kombi” created in the 1970s, as a revolutionary cutting-edge "supercar".
Kalashnikov was earlier ridiculed over its new combat robot "little Igor".
The company said in a statement on Thursday that the CV-1 car featured a number of "complex systems" including a revolutionary inverter measuring 50 x 50 x 100cm. When fully developed, the car is designed to power up to 1.2 MW, several times higher than current electric vehicles produced by its firm and would be able to travel 220 miles (350 km) on a single charge. As it is an initial prototype, details of vehicle’s price tag have not yet been disclosed.
Kalashnikov has been looking to take its brand in different directions and recently launched a clothing line and a catalogue of personal items ranging from umbrellas to smartphone covers. However, its decision to go down the road of developing electric vehicles was met with mixed reactions in Moscow.
Social media users quickly took to the company's Facebook page to share their thoughts on Russia's answer to Tesla, with some commenting on its "funny Zombie-like" design, while others praised its "cool" appearance. "Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars," one user wrote.
Earlier this week, Kalashnikov unveiled Igorek, a four-meter (13 ft) tall, 4.5-tonne, a manned robot designed for "carrying out engineering and combat tasks". At a time when robots are competing to become smaller, sleeker and smarter, the company was mocked over the robot's bulky old-fashioned design. Kalashnikov later said it hoped to display an improved version of the robot at an exhibition in 2020. The Kalashnikov Concern earlier unveiled new high-tech cars and bikes designed for the Moscow traffic police. The electric-powered patrol vehicles entered service last week.
The electric car ‘Ovum’ weighs half a ton and can reach up to 80kph (50mph) in speed. The company promises that the egg-shaped three-wheeler will have a “very smooth drive”.
And even if it is involved in a crash, the car, unlike some other electric vehicles, has little chance of bursting into flames, the manufacturer says.
The ‘Pulsar’ electric motorcycle is capable of going up to 100kph (62mph). Its engine is eco-friendly, doesn’t make much noise, and is 12 times cheaper to use than bikes, which run on gas, the company says. Aside from helping law enforcement, Kalashnikov plans to design a commercial model of ‘Pulsar’ that will hit the mass market.
Our assessment is that the Russians are now trying to create some space in the automobile industry. We believe that President Putin had demonstrated this intent with Project Cortege – a project to manufacture Unified Modular Platforms vehicles including sedans, minivans, and SUV’s. We believe that with supply chain re-engineering, companies like Kalashnikov cannot overcome limitations in design capability that they may currently face.