The very determined Mate Rimac is in Brussels for the opening of his first point of sale outside Croatia, in D’Ieteren. He detailed his vision of the future car.
“If you only knew how many times we’ve been to the edge of the cliff, you’d be surprised! I remember times when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pay the wages three days later…” Mate Rimac, the Croatian automotive genius, was in Brussels on Thursday. He opened there the company’s first dealership outside Croatia, in D’Ieteren in Drogenbos.
Bugatti, from the Volkswagen (Porsche) group, has decided to merge its fortunes with the Croatian company. This strategic decision certainly made a lot of sense, but it surprised many in 2021.
“That company is Bugatti created the hypercar market and showed the industry that it is possible. But the future of Bugatti is limited to the electric environment of the VW group”, explained Rimac today, who offered for his part “the first electric hypercar on the market”.
Car of all superlatives
His Nevera, present in the Bugatti showroom and at the Auto Show, is the electric car of all superlatives with a carbon body, four electric motors, a central battery and a peak acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in under two seconds. 150 Refrigerators will be made in all.
In a series of demos, the car left every other car on the market in place, from the Lamborghini Aventador to the best Tesla. With its four independent motors, skid functions are also included.
Mate Rimac readily admitted, more than the environment, above all his passion for technology and cars has driven him since his debut in 2009 towards electric in a country without a car manufacturer. It all started in a garage by converting BMWs into electric versions, with several records at stake.
Today, the company has 400 million euros in annual revenue and more than 2,000 people work for it between the headquarters in Zagreb and the Bugatti factory in Molsheim. Rimac is finishing building its campus in Croatia and the boss already knows it won’t be enough.
Also the company is doing everything for the Nevara itself, a small achievement in itself. “You won’t find any parts on this car that are on others.”
The company survived for many years, mainly by making prototypes for other manufacturers or by supplying parts (batteries etc.) to some of them.
Now, specifically with the Rimac group Bugatti Rimacwhich will produce hypercars of two prestigious brands, and Rimac Technologywhich the boss considers more like a “scale up”, selling technological components to many car manufacturers, including Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Hyundai, Mercedes, Renault, Pininfarina, AMG…
Porsche owns 22% of the Rimac group and Hyundai 11%. Porsche is also a 45% shareholder in Bugatti Rimac.
The idea is to pour all the technology developed for hypercars into other vehicles with larger volumes. Rimac believes it is particularly advanced in terms of electric motorization and the energy density of the batteries.
The third business: robot taxis
Mate Rimac bet on the electric car at a time when few took it seriously. Today, the young prodigy still wants to project himself into the future. Alongside Bugatti Rimac and Rimac Technology, he is busy with a third activity, P3, in robot taxis. He won’t say much about what this technological subsidiary will offer, but Rimac’s observation is unsettling. He thinks we won’t have enough materials to make all new cars electric.
A young customer will no longer want to spend so much money on a car that he will only use 3% of the time. Rimac therefore believes that shared robots will be an important part of the automotive equation in the future. “A robot taxi replaces 10 to 15 cars,” he said. This will increase car usage by 50% of the time while using fewer resources. “What will disappear before the end of combustion cars is the reality of owning your car”believe in Rimac.
Soon a storage battery
When Mate Rimac was asked if he was not worried that the competition would be more intense in his subsidiary dedicated to electric vehicle technology, he answered directly that if “in the beginning, the manufacturers did not have the slightest idea in relation to this technology. , now they are becoming very good. Some more than others”.
It is also “political”. A series of “blue collar” workers who work on combustion car parts need to be requalified to make other things like batteries. So much so that manufacturers tend to do more and more things themselves in the electric car.
So far, Mate Rimac has worked in synergy with manufacturers. “But I will not bet the future of my company on this.“ It is therefore working on other applications such as storage batteries and should announce this year a development in this direction.