The Grand Tour

How Rimac Became An Industry Changer

By now you’ve all heard of Rimac and their Concept One thanks to Hammond and his heavy right foot. And now you’ve seen the interviews and we know what happened, but we have yet to explore into Rimac’s past.

Because as far as car companies go, Rimac is a very interesting one.

Rimac was started by Mate Rimac in 2009. He had a vision to create a sports car of the 21st Century – one that was clear of the constraints of the internal combustion engine. Once Mate realised that to do this he had to invent several technologies to make this vision come true. So, in Sveta Nedelja, near Croatia, Zagreb, Rimac was founded.

Rimac’s first test mule, a BMW e30 that was converted to electric power after its engine blew up, was the first electric car to win against combustion vehicles of the same category in professional races. This opened the gates to investors and the press coverage. Especially when it broke five FIA world records that are still yet to be beaten.

These investors included the Abu Dhabi royal family. Although that never came to fruition once they wanted Rimac to move to their country.

Rimac said, ““I owned an old BMW E30 which I used for drift and circuit races. At one of these races, the gas engine blew up. Then I decided to try building an EV.

“After one year or so the car was able to drive but I was not satisfied with the result. It was heavy, not very powerful and the range was very limited. I started to gather a team of experts to develop our own components since I believed that the electric propulsion can give much more compared to what was available on the market.

“At that time, I already had a very clear vision of my ultimate goal. Today, hard work is making my dream come true.”

By selling patents and technologies to other automotive companies and even non-automotive companies as a leader in electric drivetrains, Rimac was able to build their budget for their Concept One which was unfurled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011. This is how a lot of automakers such as Aston Martin increase their revenue, however at this point Rimac was yet to sell a production car!

Mate and his company had to push through plenty of negativity to get to where they are now, such as locals complaining that he was “building cars for the rich,” but eventually in 2013, prototypes started being delivered to customers. Although they were hidden under confidentiality agreements meaning any details of the project was kept under wraps.

It’s incredible how such a small company can cause such a ripple in the motor industry. From a man working on a ruined BMW e30, to a company with over 150 employees producing a hypercar that has the numbers to put the holy trinity to bed – Rimac is certainly an extraordinary company.

And the Rimac Concept One and Concept S are extraordinary cars.

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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