A motor at each wheel, butterfly doors, and 258-mph top speed.
If Croatian carmaker Rimac and its Concept_One EV blew by your news feed in 2016, you definitely heard about the brand a year later when Richard Hammond crashed the 1,300-hp supercar in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The car slid off the road, rolled down a hill and caught on fire, but Hammond only suffered a fractured knee. A year later the company introduced the Concept_Two at the Geneva International Motor Show and now that concept has turned into the ready-for-sale Rimac Nevera hypercar.
The Nevera moniker comes from the name given by locals to an unexpected and mighty Mediterranean storm. "A nevera is extremely powerful and charged by lightning," Rimac says. All systems have been improved and enhanced since the initial prototypes, and the car's on-road manners have been further refined. Most components for the Nevera were developed in-house and only 150 will be created.
The Nevera looks very close to the design of the Concept_Two, but even so, many enhancements have taken hold. With changes to the bodywork, Rimac was able to extract a 34% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency over early prototypes. The company refined the shape of the hood, pillars, diffusers and splitters. Reshaped inlets and cooling channels have resulted in a 30% improvement to the brakes and powertrain temperatures at low speeds and a 7% enhancement at high speeds, according to Rimac.
The new hyper EV has active aerodynamics in the hood profile, underbody flap, rear diffuser and rear wing, which can each move independently, "driven by complex algorithms that provided the optimum aerodynamic configuration for every situation." Switching from high downforce to low drag mode gives the Nevera a coefficient of drag of 0.3, about the same as a Ferrari LaFerrari.
Large butterfly doors open wide for ease of entry and exit while lightweight forged wheels have a design that channels air to the brakes.
With seating for two, Rimac says the Nevera "is as much a grand tourer as it is a performance hypercar." It's filled with three screens, one for the driver, one center and one for the passenger, getting rid of most of the tactile controls. The top part of the cockpit "is for pleasure and performance," while the bottom part houses your infotainment, climate and driving information.
It does have a few dials and switches, with a bank of the latter where the gearshift would be for ride height, windows, locking and mode setups. A trio of billet rotary dials control the climate, drive modes and gear selection. Everything is leather and suede, with carbon fiber showing through on the door sills, steering wheel, dash and doors.
That's all fine, the exterior looks great, the interior looks comfortable and useful, but how fast is this thing? Well, the Nevera sports a 120-kWh, 6960-cell battery capable of producing 1.4 megawatts of power. It's also a structural member of the chassis, adding 37% more stiffness to the carbon fiber monocoque. It has a 48/52 front/rear weight distribution.
Four motors drive the wheels individually, for a total of an unbelievable 1,914 hp and 1,731 lb ft of torque. Each axle gets a single-speed gearbox. Those electric motors are 97% efficient, as opposed to your average ICE's 40%. All of that shoves the Nevera to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds, 100 mph in 4.3 seconds, and 186 mph (300 km/h) in 9.3 seconds. There are only a few cars in the world with a higher top speed than the Nevera's 258-mph terminal velocity.
Rimac's all-wheel-drive system is called R-AWTV 2, (all-wheel torque vectoring) and replaces stability control because each wheel can adjust torque individually. Rimac says it makes more than 100 calculations per second. Bringing all of that power to a stop are a set of Brembo electro-hydraulic brakes that also make judgments on how much friction and how much regeneration is used.
Drive modes include Comfort, Range, Sport, Track, Drift and Custom, with the Range mode being the most efficient. Track mode sets everything to 100%, including the response from the throttle, transmission, steering sensitivity and feedback, and the adjustable suspension.
The coolest part of Rimac's tech is the AI Driver Coach. It "evaluates performance and provides guidance to optimize and enhance the driver's on-track performance." It does this by using 12 ultrasonic sensors, 13 cameras, six radars and the latest NVIDIA Pegasus operating system. The system overlays racetracks in real time "offering clear and precise audio and visual guidance, to enable drivers to perfect their racing lines." We don't know what that will look like, but we can't wait to try it out when it launches as an over-the-air update in 2022.
As per usual, the Nevera will come with a phone app that delivers data back and forth from company to owners. It tracks the usual stuff like battery charge, range, location and it can also analyze driver performance. There's not much mentioned in the way of safety features, but it will have a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems and is technically capable of Level 4 autonomous driving. When that will be unlocked is still a question.
Now, the bad news. The limited-edition Rimac Nevera will costs $2.44 million, and like we said, it's only building 150 of them. The forthcoming Lotus Evija seems to bring the goods to compete fairly. It will cost about $2 million and make 1,974 hp and 1,254 lb ft of torque. The Pininfarina Battista would make the cut as well. It has 1,900 electric horses and will set you back about $2.5 million.
On the rumor front, we have hyper EVs coming from Koenigsegg and Pagani soon, while the Porsche 918 Spyder will get a successor as well. Those brands could make that trifecta EV race turn into a six pack, and that could really be the greatest, and fastest, drag race in the world.