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Hyundai invests in Rimac and will collaborate on an EV sports car
Hyundai and its sibling Kia are investing $90 million in a technical partnership with EV hypercar maker Rimac, the first fruits of which will be two high-performance electric vehicles planned to reach the market in 2020.
The three companies will work together on two electrically driven cars: a battery-powered version of Hyundai’s N brand mid-engine sports car, and a high-performance EV powered by a fuel cell. Hyundai has been showing variants of its Veloster-based Racing Midship concepts since 2014. The Korean automaker also has a technical partnership with Audi to develop hydrogen fuel cells and sells the Nexo FCEV in limited numbers.
Of the 80 million-Euro investment ($90 million as of this writing), Hyundai is putting $72 million into the venture and Kia is investing the remaining $18 million. Rimac will be contributing its technical expertise.
While the project is being promoted by Hyundai as part of its move towards “Clean Mobility,” the partnership appears to initially be more about speed than about environmental protection. As the industry electrifies, it should be noted that high-performance and racing cars have helped develop important technologies since the automobile’s earliest days. Electric cars and their reduced emissions should be no different.
Rimac, which makes the 1914-horsepower C-Two electric hypercar, was started in 2009 by then-21-year-old Mate Rimac. The company now has 500 employees and technical partnerships with Aston Martin and Porsche, the latter of which took a 10 percent equity stake in Rimac Automobili last year.
As exciting as the C-Two is, it’s also clear that Rimac is positioning itself as a supplier in addition to being a low-volume manufacturer. In announcing the tie-up with Hyundai and Kia, Mate Rimac said that the “collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.”