Russian arms maker Kalashnikov on Thursday presented its new electric car inspired by a rare 1970s model, saying the new technology will rival Elon Musk’s Tesla.
The brand, best known for the AK-47 machine gun, presented the decidedly retro-looking pale blue prototype, the CV-1, at a defense expo outside Moscow.
The look was inspired by a Soviet hatchback model developed in the 1970s called “Izh-Kombi,” a statement on the Kalashnikov website said.
Holding company Kalashnikov Concern said it has developed some cutting-edge elements for the “electric supercar”, including a “revolutionary” inverter. The vehicle can travel 350 kilometres on one charge, reports NDK.
“We are developing our own concept of an electric supercar, which is based on several original systems developed by the concern,” the firm said.
“This technology will let us stand in the ranks of global electric car producers such as Tesla and be their competitor,” RIA-Novosti further quoted the Kalashnikov press-service as saying.
“We were inspired by the experience of global market leaders in developing our concept.”
Kalashnikov Concern has long been trying to expand its brand, recently launching lines of clothing and other civilian merchandise ranging from umbrellas to mobile phone covers.
Its foray into electric vehicles however was met with mixed reactions from Russians. Comments to the news on the company’s official Facebook page ranged from “cyberpunk” to “Izh-Zombie”.
“Your tanks are great, but it would be better if you stayed away from cars,” one user wrote.
Earlier this week, online users ridiculed Kalashnikov’s new bipedal combat robot. The golden-colour machine, reportedly named “Igorek” in production stages, immediately became a subject of social media memes.
“Somebody had watched too much ‘Robocop’,” tweeted user happy__keanu, referring to the 1987 action film about a cyborg law enforcer.
Kalashnikov also unveiled an electric motorcycle for Russian police & military forces.
In other Russian industry news, Russian scientists are developing massive lasers capable of blasting some of the half-million bits of space junk orbiting our planet into oblivion.
Precision Instrument Systems — a research and development arm within the Russian space agency, Roscosmos — recently submitted a proposal to the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) for transforming a 3-meter (10 feet) optical telescope into a laser cannon, the RT network reported.
Scientists at Russia’s Altay Optical-Laser Center will build this debris-monitoring telescope. Then, to turn it into a debris-vaporizing blaster, the researchers plan to add an optical detection system with an onboard “solid-state laser,” according to the Sputnik news agency.
After that, it’s sizzle time. The cannon will train laser beams on pieces of orbiting detritus in low Earth orbit, heating up the bits of floating junk until they are entirely demolished, according to RT.
Human-made space junk consists of discarded or broken parts of spacecraft, launch vehicles and other objects sent into space, and it comes in many sizes. Approximately half a million bits whizzing around the planet are the size of a marble or bigger, and about 20,000 of those are at least the size of a softball, NASA reported in 2013. These bits travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,164 km/h), and at such speeds, even a relatively small particle of debris could seriously damage a spacecraft or satellite.
In 2015, Japanese researchers presented plans for a spacefaring, debris-blasting laser mounted on a powerful telescope intended to detect cosmic rays, Space.com previously reported. Their study described combining many small lasers to produce a single powerful beam that would vaporize matter on the surface of space junk, generating a plume that would propel the debris lower in its orbital path, eventually causing the object to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
And earlier this year, researchers in China published a report proposing another laser-based approach to dealing with space garbage; their solution also suggested using satellite-mounted lasers to nudge orbiting debris into a lower orbit.
Clearly, space debris is a problem that would likely benefit from a futuristic solution like a laser cannon. However, while Precision Instrument Systems representatives confirmed the existence of their report to Sputnik, they “declined to elaborate further” on any details related to the project’s production time frame or its technical requirements.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 23rd, 2018