Elon Musk is not the only EV pioneer who’s been inspired by Nikola Tesla. Just a few hours’ drive from the small village where Tesla was born, a Croatian company is building a 1,088-horsepower beast called the Rimac Concept_One.
Like Musk, Mate Rimac, the 26-year old founder of Rimac Automobili, has plans that extend far beyond selling a few supercars to connoisseurs. “We have a long-term plan of creating subsequent generations of less expensive models with more and more volume,” Rimac told Tech.eu (via Motor Authority). “Our plan is to build about 80 – 100 units of the Concept_One and then move to other models with target volumes first in the hundreds and then in thousands of units. We didn’t want to build the best electric car in the world. We simply wanted to build the best car, period. Electric motors are so much better, so much more suited to power cars and other vehicles that it was a no-brainer.”
The Concept_One, which was introduced to the world at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, has a liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet synchronous motor for each wheel. It can do 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 305 km/h and a range of 600 km. It sells for a cool million.
Rimac Automobili designed the motors, battery packs and battery management system in-house, and almost every component except the tires, windshield and airbags is made in Croatia. The 25-person company currently derives much of its revenue by licensing its technology and engineering services to other car manufacturers.
Rimac recently hooked up with a couple of investors, providing the funds it will need to double its head count and proceed with its ambitious plans, which also include marketing a line of electric bicycles under the Greyp brand.
Frank Kanayet Yepes is a prominent South American entrepreneur of Croatian origin, a major investor in clean energy and a sports car fanatic. He has decided to invest approximately a million dollars in Rimac Automobili. “The company is in exactly the right place at the right time,” he said. “There are more than 800 million cars in the world, almost none of which are electric. The market share of electric cars will rise quickly from this small base – the world is ready for it. Tesla Motors has played a crucial role in establishing electric cars as a serious category, not just something exotic and experimental.”
Meanwhile, Sinocop Resources, a minerals and metals company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has announced that it will buy 10% of the company for 5 million euros in cash and 2 million in stock.
“This finally gives us the capital we need to properly set up production and testing,” said Mate Rimac. “Money is coming not only from investors but also from customers. We have six cars in the pipeline now, more than enough to keep us busy for a while.”