by Adam Lynton
Tesla may be the best-known fully electric car manufacturer in the US but the small Rimac Automobili company start in 2013 in Croatia is one of the new breed of modern automakers that is making big inroads into this segment.
2-Speed Dual Clutch per side
Their first and only vehicle so far is the Concept_One, claimed to be the world's first electric supercar, it is a powerful two-seater coupe that promises unparalleled levels of acceleration and handling. Built in extremely limited numbers, updates and drivetrain improvements are ongoing.
The interior is a completely bespoke design and the center console in particular looks futuristic, the in-house designed infotainment and control screen offers a multitude of functions and settings that obviates the need of physical buttons and switches.
There is space for two in the tight cabin and the seats offer superb lateral support, the fit and finish of the interior is very good for a very low volume product and it would have to be as it is competing at the very pointy end of the hypercar segment.
Taller occupants will have trouble with the restricted headroom though. The rear hatch opens up to reveal the electric control unit and luggage space is limited to what you can store in the cabin and your pockets.
The Rimac, like the majority of electric vehicles weighs a fair bit, just over 4000 pounds in this case, although its immense torque output neutralizes the mass and the Concept_One makes the most of its unique four-wheel electric motor setup and should offer superb cornering abilities.
Not much is known about how this electric sports car handles around a race track but the focus on the driver is apparent in details like the decision to use hydraulically assisted steering instead of a less interactive electric unit.
The all-wheel torque vectoring system can be adjusted to suit a variety of driving requirements and it should outperform conventional drivetrains when it comes to putting the power down effectively in low grip conditions.
According to reports there are a few negatives too, the ride quality is firm and unyielding on rougher road surfaces and the Concept_One is at its best on smooth, flowing roads. The braking system features a regenerative feature which reverses the electric motors when decelerating and this combined with the carbon-ceramic disc setup can make for an unpredictable and varying brake pedal feel.
Despite these shortfalls, the Rimac promises an engaging and immersive experience like no electric car has provided before.
The Rimac Concept_One is fitted with four electric motors at each corner and the combined output is a serious 1073 horsepower, even more impressive is the 1180 lb-ft of torque. Unlike just about every other electric car the Concept_One features a small 2-speed dual-clutch gearboxes linked to each of the rear motors.
The lower geared transmission allows for speeds of up to 100 mph and helps keep the 0-60 mph time down to a claimed 2.5-seconds, the second gear helps keep the furious acceleration levels strong right up to the claimed 221 mph top speed.
No gas-powered car can match the instantaneous response to throttle inputs and a 95-kWh battery promises a range of around 200 miles when you are not exploring the upper reaches of its performance envelope.
Currently eight units of the Concept_One have been delivered to customers and specification levels vary as development is ongoing. Basic specifications include full LED lighting, Carbon-ceramic brakes, full carbon-fiber body, 22 Kw on-board charger and an in-house infotainment system.
There may safer choices than the Rimac Concept_One when it comes to top level supercars, but this low-volume electric-powered coupe offers a glimpse into what the future holds for the performance car.
A totally bespoke interior and exterior design are impressive for such a small volume manufacturer and the all-wheel torque vectoring system may be a game changer too. It may have a cramped cabin and brakes that need further development but it offers searing acceleration and a level of exclusivity few other competitors can match.