Rimac Automobili is a Croatian car manufacturer that develops and produces high-performance electric cars, drivetrain and battery systems.
Headquartered Sveta Nedelja, Croatia. Rimac Automobili's first model, the Concept One, is known as the world's fastest production electric vehicle. While Rimac sells high-performance vehicles under their own brand, the company develops and produces drivetrain systems and full vehicles for other companies. The Applus+ IDIADA Volar-E is an example of the services Rimac Automobili offers and executes for other companies.
|Sveta Nedelja, Croatia
|Rimac Concept One
The groundwork for the company began in 2007 as a garage-housed hobby of founder, Mate Rimac, Bosnian Croatfrom Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He converted his BMW E30 to incorporate an electric powertrain and subsequently gained attention from press and investors. Much of the early financing came from selling patents and from family money. The company itself formed in 2009 and rented facilities in Sveta Nedelja, near Zagreb, Croatia. The e-M3 was Rimac Automobili’s first test mule. The founder and CEO Mate Rimac started to convert this car when he was only 19 years old: “I owned an old BMW E30 (MY 1984) which I used for drift and circuit races. At one of these races, the gas engine blew up. Then I decided to try building an EV. After one year or so the car was able to drive but I was not satisfied with the result. It was heavy, not very powerful and the range was very limited. I started to gather a team of experts to develop our own components since I believed that the electric propulsion can give much more compared to what was available on the market. At that time, I already had a very clear vision of my ultimate goal. Today, hard work is making my dream come true.”
The prototype BMW E30 is called the "Green Monster" by the designers. With a 0-62 mph in 3.3 seconds mark, it is the fastest accelerating electric vehicle in Category A, Group VIII, and Class 3 sections (over 1000 kg). The “green monster” develops 600 horsepower, 900 Nm of torque, reaches 100 km/h from standstill in 3.3 sec and a top speed of 280 km/h. Five development evolutions have pushed the e-M3 to become the officially fastest accelerating electric vehicle according to strict FIA rules.
- 1/8 mile: 7,549
- 1/4 mile: 11,808
- 1/2 km: 13,714*
- 1 km: 23,260*
- 1 mile: 35,347*
- Records subject to official FIA approval (pending)
The original BMW has now gone through five stages of reinvention and, says Rimac, "got faster, lighter and more reliable each time". When he realised how little of the original car remained, he decided to build a new car from scratch.
With a curb weight of 1650 kg, and 1088 HP, the Concept One can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 2.8 seconds and continue to accelerate to the limit of 305 km/h. 92 kWh of energy in the Battery modules delivers enough juice for up to 600 km of range. The company plans an initial run of 88 vehicles mainly targeted at the European market. Almost all of the materials are produced in-house; no critical components are off-the-shelf. The current design team includes former designers from Pininfarina and Magna Steyr. The exterior was designed by the young Croatian designer Adrian Mudri.
A very important chapter in the Rimac Automobili history was the Frankfurt Motor Show. They have released very few details about the project prior to the Auto Show – they have tried to keep as much as possible secret. At the unveiling of the car, hundreds of journalists from the show lined up in front of their stand. Many employees of big car manufacturers visited their stand as well. BMW, Tesla, Audi, Fisker – all of them where very surprised what an unknown private start-up company has established, and the car was the star of the show, since the previously unknown company managed to build an electric supercar with a technology that surpassed even the most competitive and financed car manufacturers. They had displayed the battery module and propulsion system on the stand which was the most interesting sight for engineers from other car manufacturers. They looked at every detail because Rimac Automobili battery can store 92 kWh of energy. The secret is how to package such a huge and heavy battery in a sportscar and still have great acceleration (0-60 mph in only 2.8 seconds).
The Concept One is designed to be the best electric supercar, not a supercar with electric motors. The independent drive system and low mounted batteries are specially designed for the driver to adjust. The whole car is developed around the powertrain and battery-pack. Gear changes or clutches are not needed and the reaction time is instant. The batteries can be located in the floor, together with all the other heavy propulsion components in order to achieve a low center of gravity. Thanks to the All Wheel Torque Vectoring System the driver can choose how he wants the car to behave – he can choose between over-steering, under-steering or a neutral handling, adjust the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) intensity and a whole range of other driving parameters. Each wheel is powered by a separate 12,000 rpm, 250 kW liquid-cooled permanent magnet motor for an overall 1088 HP and 1600 Nm of torque. The vehicle achieves the speed range from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds with a limited maximum speed of 305 km/h. The batteries are also designed to be economic - one charge can operate the car for around 600 km (320 miles), and needs to recharge for only 30 min (with an 200 kW power supply station).
Besides its high-tech powertrain and batteries, there is also a high-end interior technology. The infotainment keeps the driver informed about various vehicle systems, the head-up display allows him to keep focused on the road, ventilated and heated seats as well as the electric adjustable steering column are assuring a comfortable driving experience.
The Concept_S is a lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamic, track-oriented update of the Concept_One. The electric motors can produce 1384 bhp, that means the Concept S can accelerate from 0–100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 365 km/h.
Notable systems designed by Rimac Automobili
- All Wheel Torque Vectoring System (RAWTV)- distributes the power to each single wheel in every situation based on various input factors. This system gives the Concept_One unique handling characteristics which can be adjusted by the driver. The driver can choose between a neutral and safe (under-steer oriented) set-up. Alternatively, if the driver has more skills and confidence, an over-steer setup can be chosen. This feature is not only a technological achievement, but also improves safety since electric motors can react much faster compared to traditional stability control systems (ESP) which are using hydraulic brakes in order to maintain vehicle stability.
- Dual PM-OC-600 Motor System - Two Permanent Magnet (PM) motors are combined in a common housing but still, they are completely independent – designed with Torque Vectoring in mind. One Dual PM-OC-600 system is powering the rear wheels of the Concept_One while a similar system, with slightly less power (and less weight) sits on the front axle. The modular motor architecture allows to share most parts of the front and rear powertrain by changing the motor length.
The motors (rotor and stator) are oil cooled with a closed-loop cooling system inside the housing. This architecture was necessary in order to get as much power as possible, while keeping the weight low. Still, no oil is circulating outside of the motor since the system features integrated heat-exchanger and pumps, which allow cooling the motor with a traditional water (glycol) cooling loop.
- MC-400-PM Motor Controller - The extremely high power goals could only be achieved with very high voltages (up to 700V) which narrowed the choice of available components since most EVs and Hybrids run on voltages up to 450V. Besides power, low weight and high efficiency, an important requirement was also a very fast response in order to fulfill the needs of the active vehicle dynamic system – the torque vectoring.
- Battery Pack - Rimac Automobili had to find a way to get as much power and energy as possible and still keep the package small, light and efficient. The battery-module architecture has evolved during the development through many evolutions stages and redesigns. The design was optimized during lab and real-world tests in prototypes until all goals were satisfied. The battery-pack is custom designed for every application because of packaging reasons.
- Battery Management System (BMS) - Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4) cells, which are used in Rimac Automobili battery-packs and vehicles, are the most difficult to manage of all cell-chemistries. The very flat voltage-curve of the LiFePO4 cells makes it impossible to determine (or even estimate) the State of Charge(SOC) based on the cell-voltage. Therefore, a very accurate SOC calculation is needed, as well as a very effective balancing method. Rimac Automobili has developed two different BMS systems – active and passive. The passive BMS works very well in most applications, but after years of testing and tweaking, they have decided to develop an active BMS. The active BMS enables them to balance the cells more quickly with a very high efficiency.
- Power Distribution Unit (PDU)- The Rimac Automobili PDU manages many tasks simultaneously - It avoids a mess with dozens of thick high-voltage wires, it measures the power delivered to each system, calculates the overall energy consumed/charged and many other things. A very important task of the PDU is to quickly disconnect a system in case of failure or a safety-relevant error.