There are certain parallels between Elon Musk and Mate Rimac. Both are fiercely independent and laser-focused on the need to electrify everything and power the world with renewable energy. Both began their adventures into building electric automobiles by making sports cars, and both have used the expertise acquired by manufacturing batteries for cars to branch out into grid-scale energy storage.
While Mate Rimac (pronounced mayt ree·muhts, according to the internet) has not produced anywhere near the number of electric cars as Musk and Tesla have — Rimac specializes in ultra expensive purpose-built sports cars for the obscenely wealthy — he has nevertheless attracted quite a bit of attention from mainstream automakers, largely because of his prowess at making enormously powerful electric motors and his ability to get massive amounts of power out of a battery pack.
Rimac, Hyundai, & Bugatti
In 2019, Hyundai Motor Group invested €80 million in Rimac Automobilii. That money will be used to create a strategic partnership for the joint development of high performance battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles. Mate Rimac said at the time of the announcement, “We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier 1 electrification components supplier to the industry.”
“Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, deputy chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. Rimac Automobilii has made a name for itself by specializing in electric vehicle technologies and sports cars. Last year, Rimac signed a cooperation agreement with Pininfarina — now owned by Mahindra — and the SEAT brand Cupra. It also has partnerships with Aston Martin, Renault, and Koenigsegg.
In 2021, Bugatti (part of the Volkswagen Group) formed a joint venture with Rimac in which Bugatti holds 45% of the shares and Rimac the remaining 55%. The two companies will continue to build and market their own automobiles.
Oliver Blume, who was the CEO of Porsche at the time, told CAR, “Porsche, Bugatti and Rimac are a perfect match. The Croatians are fast movers in terms of battery and software development, low volume high end products, prototyping, and forward thinking as far as the zero emission big picture is concerned.
“The goal for Bugatti in this joint venture is to accelerate the essential engineering transformation and to carefully adapt and hone its key brand values. Last but not least, Porsche also has a vested interest in the outcome of this cooperation — after all, the 918 Spyder may one day get an even more advanced replacement,” Blume added.
Announcing Rimac Energy
In a blog post on its website, Rimac Technology said it is launching Rimac Energy to accelerate the transition towards a sustainably powered planet and leverage its expertise in making market-defining electric vehicle technology to create the next generation of stationary Energy Storage Systems.
Those systems will feature a novel electrical architecture which enables significant performance, safety, and availability advantages, according to the company. All products will be fully designed, developed, and produced in Europe.
Rimac Energy will create its pilot systems for selected customers this year, with commissioning in 2024. High volume ESS production will begin in 2025 at the Rimac Campus in Croatia and scale to more than 10 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of annual production.
This marks a major milestone for the company as it expands beyond its market-leading EV technology and introduces innovative stationary energy storage systems. These stationary solutions are essential to realizing the full potential of renewable power generation and driving the decarbonization of our energy networks.
The Rimac Energy division has been purposely built as a specialized team within Rimac Technology over the last 18 months, and now consists of 60 dedicated employees, all of whom currently work on its first generation of stationary ESS and pilot applications with select customers.
Leveraging Battery Expertise
Leveraging Rimac’s renowned expertise in EV technology, Rimac Energy applies the same engineering philosophy and design know-how to stationary energy storage applications. As a result, it has created a novel battery architecture that reduces efficiency losses by up to 50%, while decreasing the system footprint by up to 40% compared to currently available solutions. Additional technological benefits include improved cycle life, built-in redundancy for increased availability, and competitive material and installation costs.
“At Rimac we have always been driven by innovation and a passion for pushing the limits of what is possible in the automotive industry. However, we recognize the importance of stationary storage solutions to power our planet sustainably. Given our track record in innovative battery technology, we believe we will play a vital role in building Europe’s future energy ecosystems, elevating it on the global stage,” says Wasim Sarwar Dilov, the director of the new company.
Initially, the energy storage company will provide solutions for large commercial, industrial, and utility scale applications, with battery-buffered solutions for fast and megawatt charging already underway. The company currently has several customer projects in discussion, including a pilot with a leading renewable energy company to provide battery storage solutions for its solar and wind power plants.
“There is an urgent need for clean energy infrastructure to support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid by providing storage and balancing capabilities. Given our head start in EV technology and dedication to sustainability, this path feels like a seamless progression for us. Our team is truly excited about creating solutions that make clean energy more accessible, as we strive to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and foster a greener future,” says Mate Rimac, the founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili.
The Rimac Group is the majority shareholder of Bugatti Rimac, and the sole owner of Rimac Technology. The Group brings together the most advanced hypercars in the world, with a globally renowned team developing high performance electrification, autonomous, and software solutions for the world’s largest OEMs.
Rimac Group is based on the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia, and has several locations throughout Europe. It currently employs more than 2,000 people. It is building a new 200,000-square-meter Rimac Campus headquarters near Zagreb, which will accommodate more than 2500 employees.
Details on how Rimac Energy will be able to cut efficiency losses on its energy storage units and make them 40% smaller at the same time will need to wait until the company makes that information available. But Rimac’s success in its automobile-related ventures to date suggests its claims will be backed up by real world performance. Mate Rimac is not one to make idle boasts.
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