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Why Rimac spent millions deliberately making the Concept_Two a worse car

By Andy Enright, 06 Dec 2019 Features

Rimac Concept_Two

Clever gamesmanship by Elon Musk’s forced Rimac’s hand

I have a recommendation for you. Subscribe to Nico Rosberg’s ‘Beyond Victory’ podcast. He gets a bunch of top line guests from motorsport, entertainment and the car industry and tries to figure out what makes them tick.

He recently had Mate Rimac, the boss of Croatian hypercar manufacturer Rimac, which is currently the hot ticket in the performance EV sector.

Aside from establishing how the company got started, he questioned Rimac on the amazing performance figures of the latest Concept_Two hypercar, due to start series production next year. Rather than enthusiastically spruik the figures, Rimac looked as if he was sucking on a lemon.

“In this category, the cars are sold by the numbers unfortunately,” he said. “People want a thousand-something horsepower car. The zero to 60 is very important.

“The Concept_One had a two-speed double clutch gearbox in the end. So, four motors. The front motors had a single-speed gearbox, the rear motors had a two-speed double clutch. And we realised when we were driving the car that you drive it all the time in second gear. It’s so fast in second gear that it’s faster than almost anything else. If you put it into first gear and do the proper launch, it’s faster than anything. But that’s like going from maybe 2.8 seconds [to 60mph] to 2.2 in that scenario.

Rimac Concept_Two

“With the C_2 we really wanted to avoid the two-speed gearbox because it’s such a big part, it’s so complex to manufacture, so heavy, so inefficient and so on. We developed a completely new powertrain, inverter, motor, gearbox, everything to achieve our targets which was about 2.3 to 100 [km/h], with a single-speed gearbox and a top speed of over 350[km/h]. And we managed to do that.

READ NEXT: Where is the Tesla Roadster?

“And then Tesla came out with the Roadster and they claimed 1.9 seconds to 100 and over 400km/h.

Tesla

“We said, okay, we’ll sacrifice. Now in the C_2 we have a two-speed gearbox in the rear. That was really difficult because you already had a space for the powertrain, for the chassis, for the motors and everything. It was incredibly difficult to get more space to put a two-speed gearbox so we had, like, a hundred concepts how to make that and the gearbox is, again, incredibly complex and now we have 1.85 seconds zero to 60[mph] time and 1.97 zero to 100 [km/h] time.

READ NEXT: Hyundai partners with Rimac for mid-engine electric N car development

“And I tell you, because of that, it’s a worse car. It’s not going to be a better car, it’s going to be a worse car. Why worse? It’s more heavy, more complex, more weight in the rear, not in the front so that the balance is a little bit worse, it’s less efficient because more moving parts and so on, but on paper it will look better. So that’s something not many people will tell you in this industry. It’s very number-driven.”

Rimac Concept_Two

So there you have it. Rimac compromised the Concept_Two to grab some headlines because he understands the market. Can you think of any other car manufacturer who might admit to this? Well, maybe one…