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MATE RIMAC: Young Croatian inventor aims to electrify the entire world of transportation

Blog: Apriso Blog

Starting as a young boy who wanted to build the world’s fastest car, Mate Rimac is now CEO and founder of Rimac Automobili, a Croatian technology company that manufactures high-performance electric vehicles and supplies electric propulsion systems to top global manufacturers of cars, ships, and airplanes. Compass spoke with him about the challenges of a startup and his mission to change the future of transportation.

The Concept_One supercar is a two-seat high-performance electric sports car designed and manufactured by Rimac Automobili. It is used as the official zero-emission race director’s car during Formula E events. (Image © Rimac Automobili)

COMPASS: What was the trigger for starting your own business? 

MATE RIMAC: My parents tell me stories of my obsession with cars even beforeI could walk or talk. As soon as I turned 18, I bought a 1984 BMW E30 and raced it. Soon, the gas engine blew up. That was the trigger to start my dream project – to build an electric race car.

I wanted to prove that electric propulsion systems can be used to power the new generation of sports cars and make them better, faster and more exciting. I’ve been told many times that I can’t do that. But we wanted to show that it’s possible to start from a garage and become a world leader within a highly competitive industry in half a decade.

The result is Concept_One, that combines all our know-how, technology, and experience. With a power of 900 kW / 1224 hp, the Concept_One reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds, top speed is 355 km/h (221 mph) and the battery capacity of 90 kWh allows up to 350 km (217 miles) range.

Because you’re based in Croatia, a country with no big automotive clusters, do you face particular challenges in finding the right skills? 

Mate Rimac, 29, CEO of Rimac Automobili with his first invention, the “iGlove” which replaces the keyboard and the mouse on computers. This was his first highly awarded high-school project. (Image © Rimac Automobili)

MR: Starting the company in Croatia was a huge challenge. We didn’t have any financial government support, local investors or a market for our products.In addition, Croatia never had a car industry, so it had no experienced people. As a result, we can’t hire people with automotive experience. Young or old, Croatians have to learn the automotive world from scratch when they come to us. However, in Croatia, we have a lot of skilled people with DIY DNA. If you can’t buy something, you have to find a way to fabricate it yourself.

More and more people from all over the world are joining us, but the majority of people are still fresh from university. Young people are enthusiastic and eager to work, however, and fit into the company culture.

Forbes chose you as one of the top 30 entrepreneurs and game-changers under 30 in Europe in the category “industry.” What do you think makes you a “game-changer?” 

MR: The recognition from Forbes and other relevant opinion makers is a good sign we are on the right path. An entrepreneur has a clear vision and the drive to achieve it and to turn it into reality. But once you have decided on a goal, you have to be all in. There are many sacrifices, lots of work and responsibilities. But if you love what you do, you have no trouble living it.

How would you describe your strategy and vision? 

MR: In the beginning, my ultimate goal was to build my own car from scratch. Since then, our objectives and focus have shifted. Today, the goal is to supply solutions to other manufacturers, not only in the automotive industry, and to become a full electrification partner for the global automotive OEMs.

Our ambition is to push the boundaries of technology further and further and to explore new possibilities to make cars more exciting, faster and smarter. Rimac technology can be used for many different applications, and we are active in the automotive, naval and aerospace industries.

Continue reading the rest of this story here, on COMPASS, the 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine

For more information on Rimac Automobili’s supercars, visit our website

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