If there’s a twenty-first-century automotive brand that can contest Tesla and Koenigsegg for an interesting backstory, it’s Rimac. Here, we’re only going to focus on the brand’s latest creation. The Croatian brand showcased its second-ever model in concept form at the 2018 Geneva motor show as the C_Two. This is the production version and it’s got itself a proper name: Nevera.
Rimac’s founder, Mate Rimac, likes to infuse his creations with his Croatian roots. The name is taken from the native word used to refer to unexpected Mediterranean storms, packed with lightning, that race across the open sea off Croatia. While some may need time to warm to that name, I like it already. Both in its sound and its meaning.
While the Nevera looks quite similar to the C_Two, Rimac has spent the last couple of years developing and improving every single component that was seen on the concept in 2018. Since this electric hypercar is an absolute tech fest, let’s start with something more familiar: exterior design.
Rimac’s design team has made a raft of changes to the bodywork to improve aerodynamic and cooling efficiencies with all the vents and inlets. There are some cool new active aero components too, such as the front bonnet profile, underbody flap, rear diffuser and deployable rear wing which can all move independently and controlled by complex algorithms. Some bits open or close depending on the cooling requirements of the batteries while others move for increasing downforce or decreasing drag. In low drag mode, the Nevera has a 0.3 drag coefficient while changing to high downforce mode increases downforce by 326%. While the Rimac is not meant to be an in-your-face kind of hypercar with crazy aero bits sticking out, it does get beautiful looking butterfly doors. The smooth curves and arches of the Nevera suggest that its design was dictated by airflow and then filled to the brim with brain-melting technology.
It’s an electric hypercar so it’s only fair that we talk about the big numbers. Rimac quotes a total output of 1,914hp and 2,360Nm of torque making it the most powerful car in production to date (the Evija hasn’t reached the production stage yet). It can reach a top speed of 412kph, do the 0-96kph sprint in 1.85 seconds and 0-300kph in 9.3 seconds. Plus, this has been tested and not just run through simulations. Those numbers are quite real and achievable in the real world by the lucky few who’ll get to own/drive the Nevera.
Let’s talk about some of the details behind those insane performance numbers. There are four permanent magnet motors, one for each wheel. The front wheels and rear wheels have separate powertrains that can be individually controlled and have different architectures. At the front, there are two electric motors connected to a pair of single-speed gearboxes. At the rear, there are two much more powerful electric motors, also connected to a pair of single-speed gearboxes. To make sure the driver gets the most of the front and rear powertrains combined, there is the Rimac torque vectoring system called R-AWTV 2. It allows the motor control units to dynamically respond to surface conditions by calibrating the amount of torque supplied to each wheel for optimal stability and agility. The R-AWTV 2 is responsive and predictive as it carries out over 100 calculations per second based on data from reading the road to tailor the level of torque required for the desired driving style.
To make a 1,900hp+ fun to drive outside of a drag strip, Rimac has fitted the Nevera with double wishbone suspension, electronically controlled dampers and active ride height adjustment. The aim is to offer a smooth and comfy ride without having to compromise on agility. Since Mate Rimac is a driving enthusiast himself, he knows the importance of the connection between the driver and the machine (something Porsche’s GT department is very good at). So, the company had to spend a lot of hours making all the electronic components feel as connected and responsive as any “normal” hypercar. The Nevera has electric power steering with steer-by-wire function for adaptive driver feedback depending on the drive mode you’re in. This tech further enables the car to be equipped with autonomous driving features including a ‘Driver Coach’ mode that can demonstrate optimum racing lines to the driver on a track.
We mentioned the clever torque vectoring system and the suspension and steering, all of which can be calibrated for the desired driving style, i.e, what mode the car is in. The Nevera has seven driving modes: Sport (sharpens everything up), Drift (supplies more power to rear wheels for controlled but joyous oversteer), Comfort (balanced settings for a relaxed and enjoyable drive), Range (sets up the to achieve maximum mileage between charges), Track (unleashes the beast’s full potential) and two Custom modes for drivers to access their personalised driving presets. Also, Rimac has programmed the launch control such that it doesn’t matter what mode you’re in. Simply hold the brake and the accelerator down together, the driver’s display will say ‘Launch Active’ and you can experience the Nevera’s immense acceleration with ease.
Since Rimac builds everything in-house for its electric hypercar, they even built cutting-edge braking technology for it. It has a complex electro-hydraulic brake booster with a brake pedal feel simulator that distributes the braking force between the friction brakes and electric powertrain (for regen). The system’s distribution factors in the state of the battery, brakes and the powertrain during braking. This braking tech enables the Nevera to harness regenerative braking of 300kW from the electric motors while substantial stopping power comes from the 390mm Brembo carbon-ceramic brake discs with six-piston callipers.
At the heart of all its performance and tech wizardry lies the biggest battery pack ever offered in a car. The Nevera has a liquid-cooled, 120kWh battery comprising 6,960 cells. It is in an H-shaped layout that houses them between and behind the drivers instead of being directly underneath. The battery is also an integral part of the car’s carbon fibre core as it contributes to the monocoque’s stiffness. Equally relevant and impressive is this hypercar’s WLTP rated range: 550km. A 350kW fast charger should be able top up the battery from 0 to 80 per cent in under an hour which would take just 20 minutes if you can find a 500kW supercharging station.
Rimac has built the Nevera as a hypercar that can be enjoyed while grand touring as well as being driven aggressively. Its interior also maintains a balance of comfort and sportiness. There are lush materials (leather, carbon fibre, Alcantara and so on) for all the touchpoints and upholstery, the seats are positioned low and designed for comfort while accommodating taller folks as well. Rimac had to take great pains to ensure easy ingress and egress as they integrated the side sills into the butterfly doors. This meant they had to rethink the entire cooling system for its powertrains but at least millionaires won’t have to look silly getting in or out of their electric hypercar. There is also a notable, Ferrari-like cabin detail in here: a passenger-side display. Lastly, it has a 100-litre boot which should be enough for a luxury bag or two.
Yet again, Mate Rimac’s design team is showing the world that a futuristic EV with a 6TB computing capacity doesn’t need to have annoying touch controls for every-fucking-thing. The Nevera has two high-res displays for the instrument cluster and the infotainment screen which sits on the central console tunnel. The cabin layout is split into two zones: the top half focuses on driving pleasure while the lower part houses all the utilities. Mate understands the worth of tactile controls and so the Nevera has billet aluminium dials for all the driver-centric controls. The drive-selector is left of the steering wheel while there are two conical protrusions from the centre of the dashboard: one for the seven drive modes and the other for the performance distribution from the front and rear powertrains. Other tactile controls include the steering mounted controls for wipers, indicators, lights, display menus etc., and an array of toggle switches in the central console for windows, lift system, the setup menu and locking the doors. Oh, there’s also a volume knob on the central console.
In terms of consumer-facing tech inside the cabin, the infotainment system can share loads of data with the owner as well as with Rimac. There’s even real-time telemetry for the driver to monitor every aspect of the car’s performance which can also be downloaded to a laptop or phone. Over-the-air (OTA) updates also open up a world of opportunities as Rimac can upload improvements to its customer cars without inconveniencing them. There are two cameras inside the cabin, one that can be used for driver authentication using facial recognition, and one behind the heads of the passengers that can do an onboard recording of their track days instead of having to try and mount action cameras from odd angles.
The Rimac Nevera also has a host of equipment for its autonomous functions. It is equipped with 6 radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 13 cameras and the latest greatest software. The Driving Coach feature uses this hardware for an immersive experience behind the wheel as it can overlay selected circuits in real-time to offer precise guidance for the drivers to perfect their laps (includes racing lines, braking and acceleration points, and steering inputs).
Only 150 units of the Nevera will be built with a starting price of €2 million each. Rimac will be offering extensive individualisation options to customers and also has various pre-specced editions: GT, Signature or Timeless.
Many automotive reviewers and journalists have already had the chance to experience the Nevera and interact with Mate Rimac and his team. If I had to suggest a video to go watch the car in action, I’d have to pick two. First, watch the Nevera absolutely destroy a Ferrari SF90 Stradale in a drag race:
Second, watch the brilliantly presented review from The Late Brake Show:
What did you think of the Rimac Nevera? Do you like the name? Are you impressed by its performance figures? Would you prefer one over the Lotus Evija or Pininfarina Battista? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.