Any Top 10 of the most iconic Soviet-era industrial artefacts would surely include the 1970s Izh ‘Kombi', the ubiquitous boxy Russian motor that looked like it had never seen the hand of a designer, and the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle whose curved magazine has been a visible symbol of pretty much every armed uprising since the 1950s.
Well now the two have come together. Gun manufacturer Kalashnikov, no doubt hoping to ride the current wave of nostalgia in Russia, has unveiled a electric concept car with the classic functional aesthetics of those Soviet times.
"This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor," said a Kalashnikov spokesperson, speaking to Russian news service RIA-Novosti. "We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept."
The CV-1 may been designed to go head-to-head with Tesla's range, but it has some catching up to do in terms of performance. Kalashnikov claims the CV-1 has a range of 200 miles and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in a very respectable 6 seconds, but Tesla's Model 3 can go 310 miles on a full charge and takes just 3.5 seconds to get 60 mph.
No prices are available for the Russian car as yet, so it may be able to take on Tesla's 'budget' Model 3 ($35,000) on that front. That's currenly moot as neither vehicle is available to buy right now.
Reaction to the eggshell blue CV-1's looks have been ‘mixed', reports the BBC.
"Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars," one user commented on the company's Facebook page. However, others described it as bold.
It's not the first time that Kalashnikov is branched away from its signature weaponry. The firm also makes electric motorbikes, clothing, umbrellas and mobile phone covers and recently moved into robotics with Igorek, a scary looking 4-metre tall, 4.5-tonne manned robot designed for "carrying out engineering and combat tasks." Ulp.
Increasingly, in more and more ways, it's like the Cold War never ended.
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