If there is an electric hypercar to sit up and take notice of, it’s this one…
Over the last few years, the reveal of a ‘groundbreaking’ 2000bhp electric hypercar has become a painfully common affair, creating a wash of new-age supercars such as the Lotus Evija, Pininfarina Battista – not to mention all manners of small, artisan start-ups, all with similar ambitions and vying for maximum attention. But there’s always been one outlier to the general rule of Evo’s cynicism: Rimac.
It was the Croatian company that arguably introduced us to the notion of an electric supercar, and while the business is yet to achieve its lofty ambitions in this respect, the Nevera marks an important moment in Rimac’s journey. That’s because the Nevera is finally ready to go – its 150-unit run is already in production, and examples are due to reach early-adopting customers in the third quarter of this year.
Based on the ‘Concept_Two’ first unveiled in 2018, Rimac has taken the car’s bespoke chassis, motors, and batteries and turned them into something tangible that customers can actually purchase. The numbers are predictably immense – including the price, which is £1.72million plus taxes. Peak power is rated at a cool 1887bhp and torque at 1741lb-ft, generated from four individual ‘Permanent Magnet’ motors in modules that sit on each axle. The two axles are driven from individual single-speed transmissions, but power is still fully variable left-to-right. The motors draw power from a 120kWh (gross) lithium-ion battery pack that sits in a T-shaped module between and behind the two seats. The range is predicted to be around the 340-mile mark, and no indication of weight has been revealed.
Rimac’s predicted performance figures are near incomprehensible though, the Nevera reaching 60mph in 1.85sec, 100mph in 4.3sec, 186mph in 9.3sec and crossing the quarter-mile in 8.6sec. Top speed is rated at 258mph – we look forward to seeing the official video and inevitable backlash when the time comes to substantiate this figure.
The Nevera’s construction is derived from a central carbon-fibre monocoque tub, with aluminium subframes bolted at each end to which the axles are mounted. The battery pack also forms a structural part of the carbon tub itself, adding 37% extra stiffness to the torsional rigidity rating. Suspension is of a double-wishbone design at all four corners, with adaptive dampers and an adjustable ride height, giving the Nevera increased adjustability within the driver mode systems.
Like most EVs, braking is dealt with by two systems, with Rimac’s 300kW regeneration capability being the most powerful of any production EV, backed up by a 390mm set of carbon-ceramic discs and six-piston calipers from Brembo. The braking system is entirely by-wire, with a feedback motor built into the hardware designed to merge the brake feel from the two systems into one linear response. The steering is also completely by-wire, but it remains to be seen if Rimac does a better job of it than Infiniti did with the odd-feeling Q60 Coupe.
The Nevera’s type of total torque vectoring has also given engineers the chance to rethink traditional traction control and stability programs, essentially replacing those systems (which cut power and utilise friction brakes) with a predictive and reactive traction management system using the electric motors entirely independently of one another. The new system is called ‘Rimac All Wheel Torque Vectoring 2’ (R-AWTV 2) and specifically calibrates the amount of torque being sent to each wheel according to conditions, driver inputs and the selected driver mode, to get the most from each of the four motors and keep the car stable whilst doing so.
While the exterior design does look similar to that of the concept, Rimac has completed a large amount of aero refinement to clean up the shape, while also improving downforce values that are augmented by its active aerodynamic components. These include a moveable grille insert, flaps under the splitter and in the rear diffuser, plus a moveable rear wing. All these operate independently depending on the selected driver mode. Total downforce variation between its highest and lowest settings is a substantial 326%.
Inside, the cabin is typically heavy on digital interfaces, with three displays incorporated into an otherwise restrained yet infinitely customisable interior. In fact, Rimac is adamant that no two Neveras will leave the factory the same, offering three starting specifications as well as a completely bespoke palette of colours.
While all of the car’s on-paper numbers sound exciting, the real thrill with the Rimac Nevera is that it is a far more tangible electric hypercar than just about any other in development right now. That enthusiasm has spread to the traditional OEMs too, with confidence in Rimac’s technology so strong that Porsche recently purchased a 10% share in the company, while Hyundai Kia has also invested £70million. This is evidence that more than simply being a manufacturer of electric supercars, Rimac looks set to become a very important part of the performance car landscape and the industry’s transition to electrification.
As a final note, the name ‘Nevera’ comes from a word for a storm surge that can hit the Croatian coast from the Adriatic Sea – with Italy just on the other side. While Rimac still has a way to go before it becomes a household name alongside more traditional supercar royalty, there’s certainly some level of irony considering the storm this modern supercar maker is about to stir up.