Not long after announcing the official name of their EV product lineup as the Taycan, Porsche has just bought a 10% stake in Rimac Automobili – the electric automotive company that is most famous for their electric hypercar, the Concept One.
Porsche are looking to build a technological partnership with the Croatian company for their own forthcoming electrification efforts that aren’t just limited to the Taycan range but also the hybridisation of the rest of their models as well. Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche commented on the buy: “We feel that Rimac’s ideas and approaches are extremely promising, which is why we hope to enter into close collaboration with the company in the form of a development partnership.”
It’s not strange for bigger companies to buy into smaller companies for specialist technology that would save them billions in starting R&D from scratch. But with a major shift in transport technology on the near horizon, the partnerships being forged are quite significant. And now we’re going to look at why Porsche buying into Rimac is significant even amongst all the other significant tie-ups of the electric revolution, one that got kicked into high gear after VW Group’s emissions scandal.
Electric vehicles aren’t new as a concept nor as a product. But for the longest time they were a luxury not everyone could afford due to many challenges like cost, charge times, charge points, performance and the biggest one of all — range. Most electric vehicles were slow, dull and didn’t offer enough range on a single charge, even with patchy solutions like an engine that was hooked to the battery not the drivetrain to work as a range extender. But it 2018 and ALMOST EVERY major manufacturer is pouring money into making EVs more affordable and practical and with a top-market niche for performance EVs as well.
Tesla has been leading the charge (pun unintended) for an electric personal vehicle with the Model S as a premium electric sports car with ridiculous levels of performance and then the Model X which is one of the coolest daily use urban SUV styled EVs on the market even if overpriced. Their latest introduction is a relatively affordable variant to join the electric movement — the Model 3. Deliveries began recently and Tesla and Elon Musk are struggling with initial problems of their first mass production vehicle, but they are still going in the right direction and also have a new supercar on the horizon, the Tesla Roadster. The giants of the automotive industry like VW Group, Daimler-Mercedes and Ford and the brands owned by them are still working to launch their first range of all-electric vehicles.
But Porsche has been at the forefront of many segment-leading technological evolutions in the automotive world. And Rimac themselves, with CEO & Founder Mate Rimac at the helm, has managed some impressive feats in a short amount of time. The Croatian company’s main focus is on electric powertrains, high-voltage battery tech and the development of digital interfaces between user and machine (HMI Development). But with the Concept One, they showed to the world that an electric hypercar could be built, can back up all the outlandish performance claims and leave its ICE-peers in the dust while also having a fair range and rapid charging. As a reminder, the Rimac Concept One had 1200+ bhp, 1600Nm, 300km of range, in 2013 and only 8 were ever made. They even showed a new hypercar at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show called the C_Two with almost double the numbers and now with the benefit of credibility. “This partnership now is an important step for Rimac on our way to become a component and system supplier of choice for the industry in electrification, connectivity and the exciting field of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems”, explains Rimac’s CEO Mate Rimac.
Rimac is already a supplier of components to many other manufacturers, some of which are rivals to Porsche, so we’ll have to wait and see if this investment from the Germans affects those relationships. But this is big for Porsche to get the proven tech from Rimac to merge with their own legacy of sports cars and performance oriented daily drivers, and big for Rimac to get the Porsche name backing them and their tech. Together, they will be the first true rivals to the likes of Tesla, a brand that already has a cult of its own with the charismatic genius Elon Musk leading the electric revolution on that end.
Over the course of the next three years, all the expected EVs from the big international manufacturers will hit the markets. Everything from hatchbacks to SUVs to hypercars, all the hyped products are scheduled for the next 21 months or so, making it a very interesting time for the world of cars. Which new EV are you most looking forward to? What are your expectations for the next hybrid-hypercar that will succeed the 918 Spyder, probably with Rimac tech? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for plenty more updates to come.