“Nevera” means “unexpected summer storm” in Croatian, the kind of out-of-nowhere weather event that hits hard with lightning and wind, then disappears just as quickly. It’s an appropriate name for Croatian automaker Rimac’s nearly 2,000-horsepower electric hypercar, the 2022 Nevera, which is slated for delivery to customers at the end of the year.
Rimac will make 50 Neveras a year, each hand-built in Croatia for a total of 150 cars that sell for $2.4 million each. The Nevera was designed to be the quickest accelerating car and the fastest electric car in the world with a 258-mph top speed. It has four electric motors—the motors on the front wheels are smaller—that combine to produce 1,914 hp and 1,741 lb-ft of torque; the car has an enormous 120-kWh battery pack.
2022 Rimac Nevera Developed From Scratch
Everything on the Rimac Nevera was developed from scratch, from the permanent-magnet electric motors to the unique infotainment system, Mate Rimac tells us. Nothing is carried over from previous projects. It was a lot of work for a low-production car, he admits—but he also says this is his business model. He develops tech, showcases it in a supercar, and then offers the tech for sale to other automakers. Customers include Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bugatti, Hyundai, and Pininfarina.
Rimac the company will deliver the first Neveras in December, unless the microchip shortage delays it. The semiconductor shortage is affecting companies of all sizes, but when you are small and scraping the bottom of the supply chain, you will pay $150 for what is normally a $1 part that allows you to finish the car and get it out the door, says the boss.
It is not hard to make a fast car, says the electronics whiz kid. But to make a car that feels safe, with no squeaks and rattles, no water coming in when it rains, and to homologate it? Well, that is the difficult part. A car is the most complex thing you can make, Mate Rimac says. According to him, the Nevera is a work of art, filled with advanced electronics. To that end, $2.4 million for a Nevera is a bargain. “It should cost more,” he says.
Rimac Nevera Variants, Successor in Works
There will be some Nevera variants, Rimac confirms, and there will be a successor to the electric hypercar, but with a different Croatian name.
Bugatti Rimac expects to start trading as a new company in the fourth quarter of 2021; the deal should be closed by then. It will make hypercars for Bugatti and Rimac as separate brands, using electric drivetrains from Rimac Technologies. Mate Rimac will be CEO of both companies, as well as parent Rimac Group.
Building a Car Nut
Mate Rimac was born in the poorest part of Bosnia where there were no roads or cars. His parents moved to Germany when the war began, and three-year-old Mate saw cars all around. When he was 18, he bought a 1984 BMW 3-Series to race and drift. The engine blew up and he combined his love of cars, knowledge of electronics, and admiration for Croatian Nikola Tesla to turn his BMW into an electric race car. His competition asked why there was a washing machine at the racetrack—but that appliance left them in its dust.
“I was insane about cars all my life,” Rimac says today. He was 20 when he started his company in 2009 in a garage in Croatia, and it struggled to survive as it went from disaster to disaster, including investors who the founder says took him for a ride. Fellow hypercar entrepreneur Christian von Koenigsegg has said he met Mate Rimac when the Croatian was only 17, and the Swedish carmaker, with a similar story of creating exotic machines in a country not known for them, became a mentor.
Pride of a Nation
Given Rimac’s struggles as a company, the Nevera is not just a car, Mate says. While building it, he was simultaneously building the company, the team, the know-how, and the experience in a country that lacked it. “This is the pride of a whole nation,” he says. With the Nevera electric hypercar, Rimac wants to raise the bar and prove Rimac as a business is not a one-trick pony.
Rimac Group is well on its way to doing so: It counts Porsche and Hyundai as major stakeholders, and it has worked with many automakers, including Aston Martin—which uses a Rimac battery and infotainment system in the Valkyrie—Mercedes, Koenigsegg, and Bugatti. Rimac also provides the powertrain and electronics for the Pininfarina Battista, a car based on the Nevera. Up next: The CEO says he would like to move past supplying low-volume projects and into supplying high-volume brands such as Porsche and BMW.