Kalashnikov, the maker of the AK-47 assault rifle, a piece of technology that many consider to be the most widely-distributed shoulder weapon on the planet, is looking to break into the electric vehicle market.
Back in 2018, the company revealed a prototype of a compact, four-door electric vehicle named the UV-4 that had a maximum speed of 50 mph (80kmph) and a range of about 93 miles (150 km).
Earlier that same year, the company had announced a concept car which it called the CV-1. Coupled with its UV-4 prototype, many began to wonder if the company intended to take on giants like Tesla for a piece of the EV market.
Kalashnikov has further intensified such musings as patent images have recently surfaced in Russia’s Federal Institute of Intellectual Property open database that hint at possible production of the UV-4 and other electric vehicles, including a three-wheeled, two-door version of the UV-4.
The new images indicate that the basic design of the UV-4 has gone unchanged, remaining a compact form that looks like it was built by someone who wants to play a real-life game of Mario Kart but without all the fun bits.
The whole thing is only 11 feet (3.4 m) long, 5 feet (1.5 m) wide, and 5.5 feet (1.7 m) tall. As there isn’t a lot of room for bells and whistles, the car is only expected to include heating and air conditioning alongside a grouping of digital instruments, an information screen, and adjustable suspension. Like the prototype before it, it’s assumed to be a low fire and explosion hazard in the event of an accident.
The other, unnamed vehicle is a somehow-even-odder three-wheeler whose body and wheelbase are smaller than the UV-4's. It’s slightly more oval in shape, has no doors to speak of, and leaves room for two not-at-all-tall passengers. Bonus: It comes with a sunroof.
There is no word on when Kalashnikov will officially announce production of the bizarre electric vehicles, but as more images and information find their way into the public sphere, it could be soon. Who knows — maybe the company’s future in EVs will supersede its history in arms-making.