AK-47 maker takes aim at electric cars

Elisabeth Behrmann

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

The most recent Tesla fighter, presented in baby-blue and dubbed the CV-1, comes with a retro design that echoes the Soviet Union’s Izh-Kombi, a car popular in the 1970s. Kalashnikov showed off the car, with a broad front grille and a 217-mile driving range, at an arms fair in Moscow this week, the company said in a post on its Facebook page.

The CV-1 will help Kalashnikov enter the ranks of electric-car producers like Tesla Inc. 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.

With electric cars proliferating, albeit still from a low base, new competitors are vying to enter a sector dominated by long-standing manufacturers like Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. 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 Inc., filing for a potential $1.8 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Others, like Sony Corp., have hinted at getting into “moving objects” and Dyson Ltd., the vacuum cleaner maker, surprised everyone nearly a year ago when it unveiled plans to build an electric car by 2020, $1.3 billion behind the effort.

Kalashnikov didn’t provide details about production or sales plans for its vehicle.