Founder and CEO, Rimac Group, Croatia
Inspired by his compatriot and idol, Nikola Tesla, Mate Rimac has always been a relentless innovator and gifted inventor. As a child, he had an interest in cars and electronics, bordering on obsession, and his ingenuity became obvious through some of his earliest schoolboy creations, including an ‘Electric Glove’ designed to replace a computer mouse and keyboard. By 17 years old he had already written his first two patents.
In 2007 at the age of 19 in a borrowed garage, tinkering, dreaming, and already thinking several years ahead of the traditional car industry, he fitted an experimental EV drivetrain to his 1984 BMW E30. His conversion was so successful, that the humble, garage-built BMW set 5 FIA approved and Guinness World Records as fastest accelerating electric vehicle.
This was the catalyst Mate needed to aim higher and seek out investors willing to fund his desire to build a bespoke, ground-breaking car from scratch. Mate wanted to prove the potential of electric powertrains and show how exciting the sustainable future can be. In 2011 Rimac Automobili was born. But making a production car is not easy – many said that an electric supercar was an impossible feat.
Mate did not listen. He brought together a lean team of similar-minded experts and in 2011 the Rimac Concept_One became the world’s first true electric supercar. With 1088hp, the fiendishly clever all-wheel drive and torque-vectoring system saw it produce performance figures that outclassed even the most expensive contemporary hypercars.
In 2021, it was revealed that the newly-formed Rimac Group would become the majority shareholder in a joint company, supported by Porsche as strategic partner, called Bugatti Rimac. Bugatti Rimac – of which Mate is CEO – sees the unique combination of two automotive and technological trailblazers; Rimac’s distinctive agility, technical expertise and relentless innovation in the EV sphere sits alongside Bugatti’s 110-year heritage of design and engineering some of the world’s most iconic hypercars. Within the Rimac Group are Rimac Automobili, Bugatti Automobiles and Rimac Technology.
Rimac Automobili remains the ultimate culmination of Mate’s 2011 dream to build his own car. From tinkering in his garage alone, Mate is now surrounded by more than 1,500 employees across seven sites in Croatia, France and Germany, with the 1,914hp Nevera launched in 2021 and first deliveries to customers in early 2022. It is a completely new development, with not a single component shared with the original Concept_One.
The development, production and supply of battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components that Rimac is known for and trusted by many automotive manufacturers is overseen by Rimac Technology, which is 100% owned by the Rimac Group.
The Rimac Group will be headquartered at the company’s new €200M state-of-the-art global HQ, with its first phase due for completion in 2023. The scale and ambition of the new Rimac Campus are vast, making it one of the largest combined R&D and production facilities in Europe, not just within the automotive industry. Across a built area of 100,000m2 and a wider 200,000m2 site, high-tech innovation remains at the very core of operations.
Mate has personally been keen to ensure that his business’ new home embodies not just the brand’s character, but also that of its people. As such, the spaces have been refined to be friendly, open and warm, with more than a hint of fun. Featuring an on-site test track, museum, design, engineering, production and testing facilities, the striking buildings and greenery have been carefully harmonized by famous Croatian architectural practice 3LHD.