Hyundai and sister company Kia Motors announced on Tuesday that they are investing €80 million (about $90 million) in Croatian electric hypercar startup Rimac. In exchange for the investment, the Korean automakers will gain access to Rimac’s tech. They already have plans to build an electric prototype of one of Hyundai’s N brand performance cars as well as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle by 2020.
No further details about the cars were released, and it’s unclear how big a stake Hyundai and Kia received in the Croatian company.
Rimac was founded in 2009, and it’s gained notoriety for developing two mind-bendingly fast hypercars called Concept_One and Concept_Two. The designs of those cars and the tech that underpins them have caught a lot of attention from the industry. British automakers Aston Martin and Jaguar have both used some of Rimac’s technology in their own limited-run EV projects (the Valkyrie and E-Type Zero, respectively), and Indian manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is powering its Pininfarina Battista hypercar using a battery pack supplied by the Croatian company.
Porsche, which has a number of its own electric vehicles in the works as part of parent company Volkswagen’s multibillion-dollar electrification push, liked Rimac’s technology so much that it purchased a 10 percent stake in the startup last year. Even fellow (and highly-regarded) European hypercar company Koenigsegg is using Rimac’s battery tech.
Hyundai and Kia aren’t total laggards when it comes to electric cars. In fact, each company has put a new electric SUV on the road in recent months, and both are among the most capable — and most affordable — currently available. But those two EVs (Hyundai’s Kona and Kia’s Niro) share the underlying technology. Tapping Rimac’s tech could presumably help the two Korean automakers develop something more suitable for the high-performance demands of the cars in Hyundai’s N lineup.