While testing the new Rimac electric sports car during the Grand Tour at the Hillclimb Hemberg, in Switzerland, Richard Hammond was involved in a serious crash. Upon surviving the incident with minor injuries, his reflections serve as opportunities for improvement to Rimac’s CEO Mate Rimac.
Hammond was testing three vehicles, namely an old school car, a hybrid and Rimac’s Concept One on the Swiss 1.8 km long hill road with 157 meters altitude. By accidentally over-steering during the last round, he went off track before the finishing line. He flew over the edge for 30 meters, first hitting the lower road and continued rolling downward slope for another 100 meters. Luckily for him, he did not wait long and was conscious when the rescuers dragged him out by his arms.
The hill climbing event that was intended to test the car ended tragically, to the dismay of Rimac’s team and everyone involved. Even though it was concluded that the accident was purely the driver’s fault, caused by inappropriate steering, the car still caught on fire. Without other major consequences, the event provided opportunities to examine and improve the existing features of the current Rimac Concept One and future models.
The accident did not demoralise Hammond, who loves the first all electric super sports car, with great range and believes it is genuinely futuristic and modern. He would only include additional vocabulary to account for all the new distinctive noises the EVs make at different stages and processes.
Rimac Concept One was built out of affection for the auto industry, especially light cars. The first prototype had electric power strings, but the team did not like it, so it changed the current production to hydraulic ones. The idea of the Croatian company was to show that 4 motors can bring a car to the next level.
The founders wanted to prove that EVs can not only be efficient and environmentally friendly, but also fast and fun when an electric motor is used to power a sports car. The initial team of 6 people which grew to 250, learned to build cars by themselves, by making mistakes and doing iterations of the design.
The Concept One is an embodiment of what an EV can do in one product. It has 4 motors, 2 speed double clutch gear works on each side, 4 accelerators and top speed in the rear, attention to thermal management to do laps on the race track without overheating, a decent range and fast recharging.
Their vision is to become a technology company that will help other companies build interesting products, electrified and smart vehicles. By trickling down to mass produced cars, they plan to evolve to a real business producing products for other vehicles, premium and sports cars, as well as other applications.
Rimac Concept One is produced at a very limited scale and captures the interest of people seeking genuinely new experiences. Being the first fully electric sports car, it draws the attention of new customers entering the market and experienced ones wanting to try something innovative.
Concept One has already been sold out. Rimac’s team is currently working on a new model produced at higher volume, with better performance, global scalability and certification. However, a big challenge for the company is growing the team from 250 people, manufacturing expensive cars with a limited scale, to a big supplier of 1,000 employees that will deliver technology to other car companies.
The young and ambitious company has already achieved early success in disrupting the sports vehicles market. The team’s drive and relentless energy that has brought them at this stage, will lead the future development to a new player in the EVs and auto industries.