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AK-47 inventor aims a retro-styled electric sports car at the Tesla Model 3

We can’t make this up: Kalashnikov the Russian firm that invented the infamous AK-47 assault rifle has announced plans to build a revolutionary, retro-styled electric sports car it claims will take the fight directly to Tesla. Named CV-1, the prototype made its global debut during the 2018 International Military Technical Forum held in Russia.

The CV-1 started life as an IZH 2125, a family-friendly wagon-hatchback cross made in the Soviet Union between the 1970s and the 1990s. Kalashnikov gave the front end a makeover with chromed slats and six thin strips of LEDs that replace the headlights. The hatchback rides much lower than stock due to what we presume are comprehensive suspension modifications. The rear end receives a new look, too. All told, designers are a metallic paint job away from achieving the look that every lowrider builder in Los Angeles aimed for during the 1990s.

The borscht-flavored throwback to the days when Leonid Brezhnev ran the USSR is only skin-deep. While the 2125 started life with a carbureted four-cylinder engine rated at 70 horsepower, the CV-1 adopts a 295-hp electric motor that’s compact and relatively light. It sources electricity from a 90-kWh battery pack that delivers up to 217 miles of range. Alternatively, when hypermiling isn’t the order of the day, the hatchback performs the benchmark 0-60 mph sprint in about six seconds. Kalashnikov notes it designed every part of the powertrain, including the electronics and the control units, in-house.

“This technology will allow us to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electric cars, like Tesla, and to compete directly against them,” the company told Russian news agency RIA in a statement. It stopped short of confirming what the future holds for the prototype, however. We don’t know when the CV-1 will spawn a production model and whether it will keep the classic body or arrive as a more contemporary-looking car. Lada, Russia’s largest car manufacturer, is also working on developing electric technology.

Kalashnikov is present in Russia’s defense sector with unmanned combat vehicles and, of course, guns, among other products. It also dabbles in the two-wheeler segment. At the same trade show, it announced plans to build a sporty-looking electric motorcycle called Urban Moto 1 that’s simple to operate, quiet, and easy to maintain. Its battery pack delivers up to 93 miles of range per charge and it has a top speed of about 60 mph.

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