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Could an electric vehicle by the maker of the AK-47 compete with Tesla?

With Tesla hard at work on their Model 3 electric car after CEO Elon Musk himself took charge of the delayed production earlier this year, a famous Russian weapons producer has unveiled an electric vehicle they believe will put them in the big leagues with other electric automakers such as the aforementioned Tesla.

From arms to cars

Kalashnikov, the Russian arms maker behind the famous AK-47 assault rifle, has taken it upon itself to claim a stake in the electric automobile market.

The manufacturer revealed their retro-looking automobile to a mixed response. Dubbed the CV-1, the car looks like something out of a cyberpunk film. It wouldn’t look out of place in Blade Runner, actually.

According to a statement on the Kalashnikov website, the car’s design is a homage to a Soviet hatchback from the 1970s, the “Izh-Kombi”, which was a resounding success in the country at the time.

Its holding company, Kalashnikov Concern (KC), said it had developed cutting-edge elements for the “electric supercar”, including a “revolutionary” inverter, the Guardian reports.

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Image: Kalashnikov

KC continued with a bold statement, saying that “this technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor.”

“We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”

As it currently stands, the arms maker has a lot of ground to cover before it can catch up to the US electric giant. The CV-1 can travel 350km on one charge, according to the company’s figures. Tesla’s latest Model 3, however, can travel between 354km and 498km on one charge. In a recent record for the vehicle, the Model 3 traveled 975km.

The online response to the vehicle has been mixed, media outlets have reported. People have come to expect a modern, futuristic look from electric vehicles. When you look at the vehicles Tesla is pumping out, you get a sense of modernity and sophistication. At first glance, the CV-1 doesn’t look much different from a rusty sedan you’d spot at your local scrap yard, save for a fresh coat of paint.

Kalashnikov’s latest robot bearing the name Igorek, a four-meter-tall, 4.5-tonne, manned machine designed for “carrying out engineering and combat tasks,” was similarly dismissed by audiences for its wonky and old-fashioned design.

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Kalashnikov follows several contenders

The Russian arms maker’s claim against Tesla is the latest of many. When you rise to the top, it is only normal for contenders to claim a stake against you.

In recent years, electric automaker Faraday Future had also announced bold statements about trumping Tesla. Those claims, however, haven’t amounted to much. The company and its CEO Jia Yueting were going through a tumultuous phase. Last year, Jia was placed on a debtor’s blacklist by the Chinese government, after owing a reported $72 million. That and a string of failed projects have led industry members to be skeptical of the company.

However, Tesla’s leading position could be further cemented in coming years, as Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was revealed to control a 5% stake in the company, making it one of the largest shareholders in the firm. The stake is supposedly worth between $1.7bn and $2.9bn.

With a sovereign wealth fund predicted to control $2 trillion by 2030 and a mass of oil wealth on its side by these Saudi backers, Tesla could secure itself as the undisputed electric automaker in the world.

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