Hyundai, Porsche invest in Croatian auto industry

Croatian EV hypercar-maker Rimac is getting support from Hyundai, Porsche

Published: June 30, 2019, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:54 PM

Rimac C Two

Rimac, the Croatian electric hypercar producer, is drawing attention and getting a boost from two world-respected partners — performance maven Porsche and design-influencer Hyundai.

Executives from the two companies joined in discussions involving the government of Croatia into potential development in the country’s auto industry, and Rimac happens to find itself ahead of the curve in the development of high-performance electric supercars.

“Porsche and Hyundai investments are a great acknowledgment for Rimac Automobili,” said Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia. “We will continue to cooperate intensively and support examples of excellence such as Rimac Automobili, create a favorable atmosphere and jointly see which concrete moves by the Croatian Government would give the automotive global industry a signal that Croatia is ready for serious greenfield investments.”

Rimac Automobili was founded by Mate Rimac in 2009, after receiving attention and investment for his conversion of his personal BMW 3 Series, which would go on to served as a test mule as Rimac developed new electric components and technology. With the amount of investment going into development of EVs, the time seemed right for Rimac and Croatia to explore the possibility of establishing an auto industry in the country.

“We want Rimac to be a successful story, but moreover, we want to share our experience to help attract the auto industry to Croatia,” said Rimac. “To be attractive to the manufacturers and suppliers, we need to develop comparative advantages over other countries. We want to contribute to attracting investors to Croatia, and our role is to point to the needs and expectations of the auto industry, while the Government’s role is to decide whether new auto industry is the right direction for Croatia’s strategic development and if so, form policies in the direction of attracting investment.”

Rimac is more than a niche local car producer, though. The company supplied the technology for the development of the Pininfarina Battista, and a month ago received a promise of $90 million investment from Hyundai Group, with the goal of creating a high-performance mid-engined electric sports car for Hyundai and for Kia.

“We are encouraged by the Croatian government’s support for our partnership with Rimac,” said Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President of Product Division Hyundai Motor Group. “We will further bolster our strategic partnership in developing high-performance EV and FCEV prototypes across the Hyundai Motor Group brands.”

About two weeks ago, Porsche announced the acquisition of a 10% stake in Rimac, as a means of acquiring the technology to make its own high-powered electric supercars.

“As part of its electrification efforts, Porsche has decided last year to partner with Rimac who has impressively demonstrated its credentials in the field of electromobility. As a shareholder, we from Porsche side want to fully support Rimac,” said Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman & Member of the Executive Board at Porsche AG. “Therefore, we just discussed the opportunities for Croatia as a country in the automotive sector with the government. Support by the government is essential for a successful development. The country now has the chance to be a relevant location for the automotive industry on an international level.”

Rimac’s first claim to fame was the Concept One, a 913-kW (1,224-hp) electric 2-seater with a range of 330-km and the ability to go from zero to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds. Its successor is the C Two, a semi-autonomous evolution unveiled at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Range has been improved to a reported 647 km and power has been boosted to 1,408 kW (1,888 hp), resulting in a 0-100 km/h time of 1.85 seconds (all figures are based on simulations).