Kalashnikov takes aim at electric cars with retro prototype

August 24, 2018 14:52 CET

MUNICH — Kalashnikov, maker of the AK-47 assault rifle, is the latest entry into the crowded electric-vehicle race that has drawn a range of tech entrepreneurs, makers of vacuum cleaners as well as the world’s biggest car companies.

Kalashnikov’s CV-1 EV prototype has a retro design that echoes the Soviet Union’s Izh-Kombi, a car popular in the 1970s. Kalashnikov showed off the car, with a claimed 350-km driving range (217 miles), at an arms fair in Moscow this week.

The CV-1 will help Kalashnikov enter the ranks of electric-car producers such as Tesla and become a competitor, the manufacturer told news agency RIA Novosti. Kalashnikov has been trying to expand its brand, adding shops to sell its clothing line and other civilian accessories.

The CV-1’s battery, which weighs 50 kg and has a capacity of 90 kW/h, is powered by an inverter developed by Kalashnikov, the company said in a release. The car can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in six seconds.

With EVs gaining popularity, new companies are vying to enter the sector alongside established manufacturers such as Volkswagen Group, Daimler and BMW. Many produce a prototype but struggle to overcome funding constraints and managing a highly complex supply chain and production process to profitably make cars.

Among the more advanced new hopefuls is China’s NIO, filing for a potential $1.8 billion listing on the New York stock exchange. Others include Apple and Sony, which has hinted at getting into “moving objects” and Dyson, the vacuum cleaner maker, which surprised everyone nearly a year ago when it unveiled plans to build an EV by 2020, putting one billion pounds ($1.3 billion) behind the effort.

Kalashnikov did not provide details about production or sales plans for the CV-1.

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