It takes its name from a strong wind that blows off the Mediterranean, known for sweeping in without warning and with tremendous force. This force of nature is what Rimac – founded by Mate Rimac in 2009 – compares its all-new hypercar to.
Mate Rimac himself has been tinkering with electric cars since he converted his BMW E30 3 Series into an EV at the age of 20, back in 2008. Now, his company has not only engineered its own car, it is a go-to brand for expertise in powertrain management and battery systems, boasting the likes of Aston Martin, Hyundai and Kia, Koenigsegg and CUPRA as clients. But it’s the Nevera which is the halo project for Rimac.
Each wheel has its own motor in the Nevera, with the front two wheels and rear two wheels connected to a pair of single-speed motors. Their combined power is a frankly mind boggling 1914hp and 1740lb-ft of torque, and each can be engaged almost instantaneously through torque-vectoring to ensure the Nevera hooks up when being launched, or while cornering.
Performance is off the scale. Zero to 62mph is dispatched in 1.85 seconds, 100mph in 4.3 seconds and 186mph in 9.3 seconds. Top speed is 258mph, and thanks to Rimac’s mastery of thermal management, it can deploy more of the power for more of the time. Stopping is also brutal thanks to regenerative braking which can harness 300kW, alongside 390mm Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with six-pot calipers.
Rimac’s all-wheel torque vectoring 2 (R-AWTV 2) replaces a traditional electronic stability programme and works both predictively and responsively depending on road conditions and driver inputs, making 100 calculations per second to deliver uncanny agility.
Update 13.08.21: As if there was any doubt, Rimac has sealed the Nevera’s place as the world’s fastest accelerating production car by taking it to the Famoso Raceway drag strip in California and setting a quarter mile time of just 8.582 seconds. Using the car’s launch control and running on commercially available Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, the Nevera topped out at 167.51mph. It wasn’t a case of turning up and getting one good run in before the electronics overheated, either; Rimac set the record on the 11th full-bore start of the day, with no performance degradation seen throughout the day.
With huge power comes a huge battery totalling 120kWh. It is mounted low in the car in an H pattern and works structurally to increase the Nevera’s torsional stiffness as well as a 48/52 front/rear weight distribution. It can produce 1.4MW of peak power.
Thanks to the sheer size of the battery, along with advanced management plus the Nevera’s slippery shape, the WTLP range is 340 miles to a charge. If you can find a 500kW charger, it’s possible to juice the Nevera from 0-80 per cent in just 19 minutes.
Rimac has designed the Nevera with a ‘form follows function’ mantra and has worked iteratively to improve aerodynamic efficiency by 34 per cent compared to early prototypes. Downforce, cooling of brakes and powertrain and slipperiness through the air have all had to be balanced, with active aero elements built in around the car. A low drag mode knocks 17.5 per cent off the car’s drag coefficient, whilst a high downforce track mode increases it by 326 per cent.
At the heart of the Nevera is a carbon monocoque which integrates the structural battery pack and rear carbon subframe, making it the largest single carbon fibre piece being built in the automotive industry. Despite this, it weighs less than 200kg and has a frankly ludicrous torsional stiffness of 70,000Nm/degree (half this figure would be considered pretty stiff).
Aside from the technical stuff, the Rimac definitely looks the part!
As you’d expect from a next-gen hypercar, the Nevera is festooned with technology which makes the most of its advanced powertrain. Range, Comfort, Sport, Track, Drift and Comfort modes enable owners to alter the car’s on-road or on-track persona. For track duties specifically, a world first ‘AI Driving Coach’ assesses data from the 12 ultrasonic sensors, 13 cameras, 6 radars and the car’s operating system to coach drivers in getting faster around a given circuit. This feature will launch via an over-the-air update in 2022.
Rimac wanted the Nevera to be a competent cruiser, too, and has made the cabin a nice, tactile place to be. The cockpit has two high-definition TFT screens which can be configured to show as much or as little information as the driver requires. Analogue switchgear maintains an analogue feel to enhance driver connection. Finally, a Rimac mobile app enables owners to monitor their car’s status and location remotely.
We’ll make no bones about it the Rimac Nevera is pricey, costing two million euros a pop. Like the Lotus Evija which costs a similar amount, a limited run is planned – 150 units in this case. To ensure that every car meets expectations, every single one will be driven and signed off by Mate Rimac himself. What a tough job that must be…