Rimac: Sheikhs and Porsches put millions in the “Musk from the Balkans”

Mate Rimac, head of the electric motor manufacturer Rimac Automobilii, is considered to be "Elon Musk of the Balkans".
Mate Rimac, head of the electric motor manufacturer Rimac Automobilii, is known as the “Elon Musk of the Balkans”.

picture alliance / PIXSELL | Before that, Puklavec / PIXSELL

The media like to call Mate Rimac the “Elon Musk of the Balkans”. He is the founder and owner of the automotive company Rimac Automobili. The 33-year-old’s business idea is rather unusual for his home country Croatia, which has no auto industry. He develops extreme electric drives – the most powerful electric motors besides racing. After the young entrepreneur’s engines are already in cars from Jaguar, Renault, the hybrid sports car from Aston Martins and the Seat offshoot Cupra, Porsche is now also increasing its share in the electric sports car manufacturer, reports the business magazine Manager Magazin.

The company Rimac Automobili was founded by Mate Rimac in 2009. Years earlier, Rimac had won a car race with an independently converted BMW with an electric drive – and to sponsorship deals. His idea of ​​driving sports cars with electric motors was hardly established in the industry at the time. Arab sheikhs saw the potential of Rimac’s ideas and invested two million euros to build a prototype. Just five months later, a car concept for the Frankfurt auto show was in place. The Arab Sheikhs jumped out after they learned that production should remain in Rimac’s homeland, but the company quickly got another chance to build an electric car. A Spanish company that was supposed to develop an electric car with EU funds hired Rimac. Shortly afterwards, the company received further orders and in 2014 the first investors took part. From then on it went uphill quickly.

Close cooperation with the German car manufacturer Porsche

In 2018, the German car manufacturer Porsche made its first investment. It already increased in 2019. Only recently, in March 2021, did Porsche attract its stake again with an investment of 70 million euros, increasing its stake to 24 percent of the company. Although the shares in the Croatian company are increasing, both companies emphasize their independence. Rimac supplies Porsche with parts for the Taycan and Porsche’s Consulting subsidiary helps Rimac in return with process optimization – a win-win situation for both companies, says Mate Rimac. Hyundai-Kia also has around ten percent of the shares with investments of 80 million euros.

Mate Rimac had innovative ideas early on. At the age of 17 he took part in school competitions with unusual projects and won national and international prizes. These experiences have shaped him, he explains in an interview with Manager Magazin. From then on he knew “that I can build something that is competitive.” To critics who were skeptical of him at the beginning, he proved that his vision has a future. In addition to battery equipment from other car brands, Rimac also builds its own sports cars with electric drives. “With the supercars we show what we can do and then we sell the technology,” he says.

Rimac C Two

Rimac C Two

picture alliance / dpa | Mikhail Voskresenskiy

The latest model, the Rimac C Two, is a mostly handcrafted car and costs one million euros. It is made of carbon and has a classic, flat flounder shape. With 1915 hp, the sports car should accelerate from 0 to 100 in less than two seconds and reach a top speed of 412 kilometers per hour. This is a great achievement for electric vehicles. The market launch of the latest model should happen “in a few months”. Unfortunately, the pandemic-related restrictions have previously led to delays, reports the company’s owner.

Thanks to the holdings of major car brands, Rimac Automobili has a good chance of playing an important role in the manufacture of electric cars. The industry is currently characterized by upheavals and changes. At a time when nothing is certain anymore, innovative newcomers have good opportunities to gain a foothold in the field – this is also the case for Mate Rimac.

With more than 200 million euros in investor money and over 1000 employees, Rimac has already established a very promising company in its home country. The young entrepreneur also has a lot more plans for the future. Among other things, he wants to become Croatia’s best employer and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electric super sports cars and high-performance drives. Even if he is aware of his newcomer role and does not see himself comparable to the pioneer of the electric vehicle industry, Elon Musk, his visions for the future are clear. With Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac has launched a competitive company on the market.



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