Red Star for Effort: Gunmaker-built Russian EV Earns Top Marx For Retro Done Right

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
red star for effort gunmaker built russian ev earns top marx for retro done right

You don’t have to be from a former Eastern Bloc country to feel strange pangs of desire for this Russian one-off. Built by Kalashnikov — yes, that Kalashnikov — the CV-1 concept car features an old body concealing an advanced electric powertrain.

The maker of the AK-47, AK-74, and various other automatic small arms apparently wants to stamp out Tesla’s decadent invasion of the Motherland’s fledgling EV market.

If you took one look at this car and said, “Hey, isn’t that an IZH-21252 Combi?”, you’d be correct. Kalashnikov used the beloved Soviet car, which started production in 1973 and didn’t stop until 1997, as the basis for the CV-1.

A testbed for the company’s new powertrain components, the retro-chic CV-1 improves on the Combi’s aesthetics in a manner sure to please dystopian near-future filmmakers. It’s amazing what you’re able to do with a simple grille insert and some LED strips. Brezhnev would approve.

Kalashnikov claims the vehicle generates 295 horsepower, drawing juice from a 90 kWh battery pack. Featuring a “revolutionary” inverter capable of handling gobs of current and an advanced (or at least contemporary) powertrain monitoring system, both developed in-house, the vehicle offers a driving range of 217 miles. Memories of the Warsaw Pact come standard. Unlike the original hatchback, this vehicle rockets to 62 miles per hour in 6 seconds.

“This technology allows us to stand alongside and compete with global electric car manufacturers such as Tesla,” a Kalashnikov spokesperson told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

While the CV-1 surely created a stir in its corner of Army-2018 international military and defense exhibition, there’s no word on when Kalashnikov actually plans to start building a production car.

Teslas remain rare in Russia, as the only way to get your hands on one is to import it. No stores, repair facilities, or Supercharger stations exist. Still, there’s 300 of them in the country, and that number could soon double. According to Bloomberg, mobile phone retailer Svyaznoy recently added Tesla vehicles to its catalog, leading to 236 orders in June alone.

[Source: The Moscow Times] [Images: Kalashnikov]

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  • HotPotato HotPotato on Aug 24, 2018

    I want one of these, big time. And Russia might be the only country that Trump won't put tariffs on, so who knows, maybe there's a chance! But those wheel offsets are show-car nonsense. The front wheels literally wouldn't turn like that. Maybe if the car rides on airbags that rise to near 4x4 level so the fronts can clear the fender lip (the car does look like it's bagged).

    • See 6 previous
    • Slavuta Slavuta on Aug 26, 2018

      @JimZ I think, gtem summarized it pretty good for you. We already saw these things happen and even participated in them. We know how $hit can start flying out of nowhere. x-USSR Americans are the best people America received. Because they seen totalitarian regime and fully support capitalism, private property, etc. Indians come here for money, Chinese to spy, Mexicans to feed families in Mexico. But those who came from USSR, came here for American values, assimilated and made absolutely fine Americans. Seriously, country is so polarized, it is not going to be peaceful for very long.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Sep 12, 2018

    Is this the modern version of beating swords into plowshares?

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  • Sayahh Toyota Century
  • Probert Really needed more front and rear overhang.
  • Varezhka Autozam AZ-1 or a Toyota Sports 800.
  • Jeffro I can’t recall a visit to a Honda or Toyota dealership that wasn’t revolting to some degree. Why run yourself ragged going through the sleazy and greedy system store gauntlet, when you can purchase your luxury vehicle with just a few clicks on your smartphone?
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