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Hyundai taps Rimac for hi-po electrics

We want some: Rimac CEO Mate Rimac (fourth from the left) shows Hyundai executives work on his all-electric hypercar in Croatia.

Hypercar developer Rimac draws Hyundai into the fold with high-end EV tech

15 May 2019

HYUNDAI Motor Group will invest €80 million ($A130m) in Croatia-based Rimac Automobili to tap into the advanced electric powertrain technologies developed for its gob-smacking 415km/h hypercar, the C-Two.


The South Korean company says it will work with Rimac on an all-electric version of its N-brand mid-engine sportscar concept and a high-performance fuel-cell electric vehicle, both of which it hopes to bring to market at some point.


Sister brand Kia is also in on the deal, contributing €16 million ($A26m) towards the group investment, presumably to advance plans for its own high-end EV program.


The deal is a big tick for Rimac which was founded just 10 years ago by 21-year-old Mate Rimac in a garage in suburban Zagreb.


The company supplies components and expertise for high-end electric powertrains while at the same time developing its own hypercar that is due to go into production in 2020.


Shown at last year’s Geneva motor show, the C-Two is said to be the fastest production electric car in the world, not only topping 400km/h but also slamming from zero to 100km/h in a neck-wrenching 1.85 seconds.


The powertrain develops a colossal 2300Nm of torque on top of peak power of 647kW.


Driving range is said to 647km, and the battery pack can be charged to 80 per cent on the high-current charger in less than 30 minutes.


The project has clearly caught Hyundai’s attention, which has its own EV development program that has turned out models such as the Ioniq and Kona EVs on the Hyundai side and e-Niro and Soul EVs over at Kia.


Hyundai confirmed last year that is working on a halo sportscar for its N brand, possibly based on the RM16 hatchback concept shown in 2016. That car had a 220kW four-cylinder turbo engine and six-speed manual gearbox slotted behind the two seats.


It will sit above Hyundai N’s current two offerings, the i30 N and Veloster N.


The latest move with Rimac suggests Hyundai is planning both petrol and electric variants of that car, which has been spotted by spy photographers under test camouflage.


Announcing the Rimac investment, head of Hyundai Motor Group’s product division, Thomas Schemera, said the company wanted to build high-performance vehicles that were not only fast and powerful but also met the highest expectations of customers “as the car of their dreams”.


“Our goal is to popularise electric vehicles and to create social value through world-class technology and innovation in performance,” he said.


Mr Rimac said he had been impressed by Hyundai Motor Group’s vision “as well as prompt and decisive initiative”.


“We believe this technology partnership will create maximum value for our companies and their customers,” he said. “Rimac is still young and relatively small but a fast-growing company.


“We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe this collaboration will charge our position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.”


Hyundai says it is planning to bring 44 eco-friendly vehicles to market by 2025.

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