At stake were millions of investment dollars.
This coming March at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, Croatian hypercar company and electric powertrain developer Rimac Automobili will unveil the final production-ready version of the 1,914-horsepower Rimac C_Two all-electric hypercar. First shown at the Swiss show in 2018, the road-ready C_Two is said to come with a few changes and various upgrades as well as a name change. But as Rimac founder and entrepreneur Mate Rimac developed his dream machine, he also inked deals with Hyundai and Porsche, the latter taking a 10 percent stake in 2018. This has since increased to 15.5 percent. What does this mean for the future of Rimac's potential hypercars?
Automotive News Europe recently sat down with Mate Rimac to discuss a range of issues, among them the status of future hypercars.
As it turns out, Rimac is in no rush to build a Concept_Two successor for a very good reason: "We don't want to compete with our customers." Those aforementioned customers are interested in Rimac's technological expertise in the rapidly growing field of all-electric powertrains and batteries. What they don't want is a competitor in Rimac. "As long as we are below 1,000 cars a year, they don't care," Rimac said. "Second, I truly believe mobility will change completely. It doesn't make sense today to start a company to sell mass-produced vehicles because I'm convinced people will not own cars and people will not drive cars in the future. Yes, we are developing batteries and powertrains for higher volumes, and allowing automakers to make their own electric and hybrid cars. But we are thinking of ways to go beyond that."
He did not elaborate further. Regarding the Porsche collaboration, however, Rimac explained the famed German sports car company presented him with a huge challenge.
"They gave us a challenge at the beginning: 'This is a new car that we are developing. Make it better. You have three months.' Basically, they gave us an impossible task." And no, that car was not the Porsche Taycan, but Rimac did manage to win over Porsche. In return, Rimac hopes Porsche will enable his small company currently "specializing in technology, prototyping, and small-volume manufacturing… to become a Tier 1 supplier."
For now, Hyundai owns 14 percent, Porsche 15.5 percent, a Chinese battery supplier 19 percent, and Rimac himself owns 43 percent of the company. There are also a few other small investors. But still, Rimac is only 31 years old and his 10-year-old company, which started in his parent's garage, is now being tasked by Porsche to develop batteries and powertrains for its future EVs.
Impressive only begins to describe this.