My Rimac Concept_One ride
Let me share my Rimac Concept_One ride. During the 2016 Monterey Carweek, I was lucky enough to meet face to face with the latest electric craze, the fully-electric RIMAC Concept_One. Indeed, we were invited by Benoît from 100|Oct to check-it out on an early morning. I remembered RIMAC from the Geneva Motor Show, it was right next to the Mansory stand, and to be perfectly honest with you all, I had only taken a few shots of it without looking further. Back then, I merely saw it as « another brand » trying to make it, which when you think about it, is quite arrogant from my part. But that cold morning, somewhere in the Carmel valley, I was about to have a fresh new look on the croatian brand and my opinion would completely change.
Needless to say, we did a bit of research the night before, and we stumbled upon the latest viral video. In it, you could see the Rimac Concept_One racing a Ferrari LaFerrari, several times. The 0 to 100 km/h was quite brutal, as it is expected with an electric car. But the « crazy » thing is that it beat Ferrari‘s flagship car. Which made us all very curious and sparkled our attention. Obviously, I always have a bit of skepticism with me in all situation and I never judge too fast, so I was very eager to actually see the car and experience it on my own.
First things first, we met with the RIMAC team and mingled for a while. It felt very casual and they were definitely very open and pretty cool. It didn’t feel like a « business meeting ». The CEO, Mate RIMAC, was a genuinely nice guy and above all, really interesting. I rapidly felt a connection with him because we seemed to share a mindset as well as a definite passion for high-tech and science in general. As we kept talking, I started to understand he wasn’t your normal guy, but I was speaking with a proper genius. A genius with an idea, and the means to make it happen. Ever since he was young, he had a passion for cars, and saw the « electric vibes » early on, hence his life project with RIMAC Automobili. Many people think of it as a rivalry with TESLA but I don’t see it that way: RIMAC is in a whole other segment as far as I’m concerned, they’re not building big production cars « for everyone ». They’re in a different business model: electric hypercars.
We went on to discuss in full-detail the specifications & technology inside his car, and to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t understand all of it. As you all know, I’m definitely not be the most technical car guy in the world. What matters to me is how I « feel » about a car.
Speaking of the devil, we went out to check it out. First thing that spoke to me is the fact the car looked way better than when I saw it in Geneva. This is a universal truth: a car will *always* look better in what I call its natural habitat, aka the streets or the race track (depending on the car). We were face to face with the first US customer car, which happened to also be the one that raced against the LaFerrari. As far as the design goes, most people seem to say the back is their less favorite part: I guess it’s because of its inner simplicity. One thing is for certain: from the front, profile, & 3/4 side, the car is a mean machine. I actually had a few words with the designer and congratulated him on achieving something able to make a mark in a world of P1s, 918s and whatnot, hell, I even told him some angles reminded me of the CX75. Which is a HUGE compliment in my book.
And then, we went off for a very quick ride in the Rimac Concept_One. It wasn’t meant to be an in-depth review, it wasn’t meant to be a test of the car: the roads & timing weren’t the most « appropriate » for those kind of things. Indeed, we only took it out for about 5 minutes, it felt more like we were a couple of kids saying « hey, wanna check this out? ». Hell yeah I wanted to check it out and experience it for myself! First things first, I feel the need to specify this was my FIRST ride in an electric car (talk about a first time, right? In a monster of an electric car who rivals a LaFerrari). I had heard a lot from friends who’ve experienced the full torque of Teslas, so I was very curious myself.
As soon as we got inside, I felt good and thought it was important enough to mention it lol. One of the things I appreciate the most in the first seconds of being in a car is how fast I can find & put my seat belt on. It was a piece of cake in the RIMAC, and that alone was a win in my book, however simple & useless of a detail it might seem to you. The CEO Mate was behind the wheel, and he showed me in full details their infotainment screen which surpasses everything I could hope for. That stuff was incredibly futuristic: for a moment I thought I was entering a spaceship and we were about to take off. You have SO MUCH to do & analyze, you get so much info & data, it’s actually a bit overwhelming. You have so many things to check-out you could have a moment of emptyness and simply decide to listen to music haha. Another key factor: all of this didn’t lag. The OS & built-in animations were pretty neat, and definitely spoke to my inner nerd.
And off we went, on a small, inclined gravel road. Not the best for a real « test drive », I told you! But it was merely to experience the car and « check it out », as I told you. I’m not here to bore you with a copy/paste of all the technical specs, you can easily find that online! First things first: the car is really really low. At less than 1m20, you’re glued to the ground. But you really feel in a spaceship, especially if you watch at the infotainment screen, where you can see the « engine » activity simultaneously on all 4-wheels. This is the moment you understand electric cars and especially the RIMAC aren’t merely a « start & stop » kind of thing, but a real marvel of technology. The amount of thougts & work that is put inside the car is mind-boggling: every thing has been thought to optimize efficiency (like the battery re-gen when you’re going downhill) and ultimately, your experience.
We were so close to the ground, the car handled like a proper race-car on every turn going both uphill & downhill. Though I felt the Gs, I didn’t feel my body being squashed left to right: I had an impression of real steadyness. And I didn’t feel compressed by the seatbelts either. The last time I felt such steadyness in turns was in an Audi R8 V10 (I seriously hope that is a good comparison, because it is).
Last but not least: the 0-100km/h acceleration. The RIMAC Concept_One actually has two « modes » / virtual gears. Second gear is for daily use and random driving. First gear is the fastest & most powerful, especially during the « launch ». We tried them both, and to be honest, they’re both pretty fantastic haha. I can understand how this car handled its own facing Ferrari’s flagship LaFerrari. The First gear is obviously faster, with a 0 to 100km/h in 2,6 seconds, which is bonkers. As soon as he floored it, I was glued to my seat, kind of like one of those Disney roller-coasters. Not being used to it, I actually had a big adrenaline rush, especially when he hit the brakes. That was brutal haha. But brutal GOOD. At that moment, I understood what all my friends were talking about, though I seriously doubt they had such awesome & fast rides haha. You get all the power straight away and the laws of science instantly apply.
While doing so, you get to hear the « sound » of the car in full mode. Because yes, the RIMAC Concept_One, though being an electric car, does have a « sound ». I know this is a very important issue with electric cars: the lack of brutal sound, backfires, downshifts & whatnot. The sounds we all live for, and are part of the car’s soul (especially for me, considering I started with videos). It’s obviously not comparable. YES, combustion-engines sound better. However, I don’t think it would be fair to say the RIMAC has « no sound » because you can experience the car & speed through the sound it makes: you can distinctly hear things in total accordance with what the car is doing. And it sounds like some sort of a jet-engine, which is actually a pretty cool thing (who here remembers the car with a plane engine?).
ALL IN ALL, I was happily surprised with the croatian brand. My Rimac Concept_One ride was pretty awesome, though very short. Further than my impressions from the car itself and its looks, I think it’s the mindset of the company and of its CEO that spoke to me. I actually discussed with the US owner of the RIMAC, and we were seeing eye-to-eye with this. Sure, they’re making a million-dollar electric hypercar, that is not for everyone’s pocket. However, they’re so passionate & cool about it, that your experience deeply changes: you want to know more. Electric cars are without a doubt a promising endeavour and part of the future, and this is a promising car brand I can’t wait to see growing.