Exclusive Interview with Mate Rimac- Creator of Croatian Electric Supercar “Concept One”
You’ve always trusted RoadRoving.com to deliver timely and accurate news from the world of motorsport and our beloved auto industry.
Hah, did I getcha?
Seriously though, one new vehicle that we’re watching develop with particular interest is the “Concept One” from Rimac Automobili.
If that name doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry… we’re putting it on blast in our next installment of the Secret Supercars Series.
For now I’ll just give you the essentials- it’s an unbelievably sexy full-electric supercar designed and built in Croatia. If there aren’t enough kickers in there already, at the helm of the company is 23-year-old visionary entrepreneur Mate Rimac with swagger in spades, great taste in sunglasses and a penchant for car racing.
When I saw this image of him lighting up the tarmac in an E30 on slicks, I was impressed… but once I realized that this car had been retrofitted by Rimac and his engineers to be a test mule for their electric propulsion technology, I knew I had to talk to him.
Rimac Automobili’s PR department was kind enough to get me in touch with the Mr. Rimac last week, here’s the exchange.
[ROADROVING] I’ve watched some videos of you drifting your e-M3 test mule, and it’s pretty clear you’ve got great driving skills. How long have you been participating in motorsports?
[RIMAC] Thanks. I have never driven in any professional motorsport competition but I have used every opportunity to participate in drift and drag races and track-day events. Those races are not really professional – in my country it is more on an amateur level. Unfortunately my family couldn’t give me the opportunity to start a motorsport career when I was a kid (you have to start very young).
[RIMAC] I own an 2007 BMW M6 for 5 years and I’m very pleased with it. It’s very fast, comfortable but it still not screaming “look at me” like Lamborghinis or Ferraris do – that’s one of the things I like most about it. For most people it’s just another BMW so it doesn’t draw too much attention. I like the Veyron from an engineering standpoint and the Paganis for their attention to details. I believe that the Tesla S will be a pretty good car too.
[RIMAC] I was always into electronics, technology and fast cars. A fast EV combines all of my interests into one package. As most little boys, I dreamed of making my own car. When I really started to do it, the decision to make an electric car was pretty easy since I believe that electric motors are simply much better machines compared to internal combustion engines, especially for a sports car.
[RIMAC] Hmm, where to start? Almost anyone can make a car. What I wanted to do is something completely new so we had to develop the entire car and thousands of parts from scratch. I have set the quality and performance standards very high so the project was far from a garage project from the very beginning. We have developed the powertrain and the car with the latest technology and tools, in the same way big car manufacturers develop their vehicles. The difference is that we had a tiny budget and team compared to the big OEMs. We didn’t have any kind of government support (unlike GM, Tesla, Fisker and many others) so funding was and still is the biggest problem. It is also hard to make a high-end vehicle in a country where no automotive industry ever existed so we had no access to suppliers and we had to build the know-how how to produce a car from the ground up. But hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it…
[RIMAC] The adjustable Torque Vectoring system is my favorite feature. When it is in “oversteer” mode and the other systems are in “race” mode, it is a blast to drive – in this mode the car helps the driver to drift through the corners. The R-AWTV system, combined with the enormous torque available from 0 RPM and instantaneous throttle response is a completely new experience.
[RIMAC] We do plan to homologate the Concept_One in the US but after we have started to sell it in Europe.
[RIMAC] Besides the production of vehicles for end-customers, Rimac Automobili provides engineering services and prototyping for other companies. Our technology will be used in a much wider vehicle range, not only in high-performance cars. We have currently no plans to produce mass-market cars under the Rimac Automobili brand, but you never know… “
Thanks so much for rapping with us Mr. Rimac, RoadRoving.com wishes you and the Concept One the best of luck. For our readers, here’s one more glory shot of that electric M3 tearing up tarmac. For images of the Concept One, you’ll just have to stay tuned…