A pioneering electric car firm that is developing a 258mph battery-powered supercar is setting up a UK research and development base right next door to Jaguar Land Rover.
The firm, Rimac, is also linked to Porsche amid speculation that the pair will soon take control of luxury hypercar firm Bugatti and turn it into an electric-only brand.
It also comes as Jaguar Land Rover – currently seeking a new electric drive-train partner – and Crewe-based Bentley have announced ambitious plans to electrify their ranges with new fully-electric models in the pipeline.
Rimac’s UK R&D hub: The Croatian EV builder – which is being linked to both Porsche and Bugatti – will have new operations out of University of Warwick’s Enterprise Park campus
It is seen as another step in the road to making the UK a centre for electric vehicle production following the Government’s controversial decision to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, and longer range hybrids from 2035.
Croatian-based Rimac Automobili is seen as one of the world’s hottest electric drive-train specialists.
It is setting up its new UK research and development office at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Enterprise Park campus in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire.
Significantly, this is right next to Jaguar Land Rover’s design and engineering centre at Gaydon.
Aston Martin’s boutique headquarters factory is also next door in Gaydon, with the iconic brand also reportedly planning its own electric car from 2025, which could be co-developed with Mercedes-Benz which has a significant share in the British firm.
Jaguar Land Rover already has a substantial amount of research development carried out at Warwick University’s world-leading main campus and science park near Coventry.
New Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolloré confirmed recently that Jaguar is talking to external partners about co-operating on the brand’s new all-electric platform for a completely new line-up of cars from 2025.
He said Jaguar was talking with ‘a selection of actors’ to work with to create electric Jaguar cars to rival Tesla and Polestar. Currently the Jaguar I-Pace is the only all-electric vehicle in the JLR line up.
Croatian-based Rimac Automobili is seen as one of the world’s hottest electric drive-train specialists
Significantly, Rimac’s new UK hub is right next to Jaguar Land Rover’s design and engineering centre at Gaydon
Rimac says its new UK research base plans to employ 30 people by the end of 2021, closely collaborating with both the UK automotive industry and Rimac’s Croatian headquarters.
Rimac currently employs nearly 1,000 people and continues to rapidly expand.
Rimac Automobili said it has already provided electrified technology to a number of British automotive brands ‘such as Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover’ as well as being a supplier to many of the world’s largest car makers, including Hyundai, Porsche, Automobili Pininfarina, Koenigsegg and others. It also has close ties to the UK, with H.R. Owen as a part of the global partners network.
Germany’s Porsche recently increased its stake in Rimac to 24 per cent amid speculation – not denied – that Porsche and Rimac would together take control of supercar-maker Bugatti, based at Molsheim on the French side of the Rhine – and turn it into an electric-only brand.
Porsche bosses said discussions were still underway at Volkswagen Group board level.
Rimac said it is soon to reveal in its final form their own ‘ultimate showcase’ of its EV technology: the hypercar C_Two noting: ‘Designed, engineered and built in-house at Rimac Automobili, and subject to a multi-year homologation process, the C_Two will soon enter series production, limited to 150 units’.
Rimac Automobili said it has already provided electrified technology to a number of British automotive brands ‘such as Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover’
The Croatian EV specialist is also a supplier to many of the world’s largest car makers, including Hyundai, Porsche, Automobili Pininfarina, Koenigsegg and others
It promises a top speed of 258mph, 0-to-62mph acceleration of under two seconds, and a 0-to-100mph time of 4.3 seconds.
The announcement follows a visit to Rimac Automobili’s headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia this week by UK Minister of State for Trade Policy, Greg Hands.
Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of the firm which bears his name, said: ‘While Croatia will always be our home, we have decided to take the opportunity to gather a small team in the UK, where the automotive industry has a long history and great expertise.
‘We are of the strong opinion that British engineers are world-class in the field of electrification and future of mobility. While we are starting with a small office, we might expand significantly in the years to come, working on Rimac’s future projects, while closely collaborating with our team of engineers, designers and technicians back in Croatia.’
Adrian Hallmark, CEO of Bentley, also part of the Volkswagen Group but now under the umbrella of Audi, said a Bentayga Hybrid SUV is one of nine new Bentley models to be launched this year as the firm continues its ‘accelerated journey towards becoming a fully electrified car company by 2030.’
Oxford-based Mini and Ford of Europe have also announced plans to go fully electric, as has Swedish maker Volvo.
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