A relatively unknown boutique Croatian car maker is helping Porsche develop its upcoming hybrid sports cars.
The German sports car giant last week upped its ownership of the tiny Rimac brand to 15.5 per cent with an investment believed to run into many millions of dollars.
While Porsche is not stipulating which of its future electrified models Rimac is assisting in developing, it’s understood the sports cars — including the iconic 911 and the 718 Boxster and Cayman — are the targets.
Rimac is a small Croatian supercar maker.Source:Supplied
“We see potential for future co-operation with this company, that’s why we raised our stake in Rimac,” said Dr Stefan Weckbach, Porsche’s head of battery electric vehicles and the vice president of development for the upcoming Taycan EV.
Porsche’s just revealed all-electric Taycan was signed off before the 2018 announcement that Porsche would take a 10 per cent stake in Rimac (later upped to 15.5 per cent last week).
And Porsche’s SUVs (Macan and Cayenne) and Panamera typically leverage the plug-in hybrid systems of parent company Volkswagen.
Rimac C_Two electric hypercar.Source:Supplied
That leaves sports cars such as the 911 as the most obvious model for Rimac to provide components and/or development assistance for.
Porsche has engineered the latest 992-generation 911 to accept a hybrid system and it’s expected to arrive around 2022.
A Porsche Taycan electric car gets an inspection before rolling off the production line.Source:AFP
Rimac’s specialty is high-voltage battery technology, electric powertrains and the development of digital interfaces such as infotainment systems.
Dr Weckbach was highly complementary of Rimac’s engineering knowledge, which includes a team of 550 people.
“They are extremely successful in the field of high-end all-electric engineering, a wonderful company with a very, very committed staff. The knowledge exchange between their colleagues and us is valuable to all parties.”
A hybrid Porsche 911 is due in 2022.Source:Supplied
Since producing its first car in 2016 Rimac has only delivered a handful of cars, one of which was written off in a high profile crash by former Top Gear host Richard Hammond.
But it provides hundreds of hi-tech electric vehicle components — including batteries and software — to the likes of Aston Martin and Koenigsegg.
Rimac also has an €80 million ($128 million) deal with Korean car makers Hyundai and Kia to assist with development of upcoming electrified performance cars.