Hyundai Motor Group has inked a contract to invest 80 million euros in Rimac Automobili, a Croatian high-performance electric car company. The two firms will cooperate in the development of high-performance electric vehicles. The contract was signed at Rimac Automobili headquarters on May 13 (local time). Hyundai Motor Co. will invest 64 million euros while Kia Motors Corp. will fork over 16 million euros.
Through this partnership, Hyundai and Kia plan to develop prototypes of two high-performance vehicles -- an electric car version of a high-performance N-brand mid-size sports concept car model and a hydrogen electric car model -- by the end of next year. They also agreed to consider mass production of high-performance electric cars after the launches of the two models. If the envisioned hydrogen electric vehicle is mass produced, it will be the world's first high-performance hydrogen electric vehicle model.
Rimac Automobili was founded by young entrepreneur Mate Rimac in 2009 and is recognized worldwide for high-performance hyper-electric motor systems and electric sports cars. The “C_One” model developed by Rimac in 2016 drew attention by winning a drag race on a 400 meter straight road. The “C_Two” model unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last year reached 100 km per hour in 1.85 seconds based on its 1,888 horsepower. Rimac is currently pursuing small volume production and sales of high-performance hyper-electric models.
"Although we are carrying our R&D on high-performance electric vehicles on our own, collaboration with Rimac will enable us to apply high-performance technology to electric vehicles faster," a Hyundai Motor Group official said. “High-performance electric vehicles will significantly boost our corporate image.”
The high-performance electric car market has been growing fast in recent years. The global pure general electric vehicle market grew from 141,000 units in 2014 to 942,000 units in 2018, while the high-performance electric vehicle segment grew at an average annual rate of 57 percent from 45,000 units to 254,000 units during the same period.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Group is decisively expanding strategic investments and collaborations to enhance core technologies for the future. Last year, the automotive group invested US$275 million in Grab, the largest car hailing service provider in Southeast Asia. In March, it invested US$300 million in Ola, the number-one car hailing company in India.