Mate Rimac’s former employee launches his own business.
”Ever since early childhood, I have loved everything connected with power and advanced technologies. I have combined my passions and started the production of electric vehicles” says Teo Žikić, the creator of the first electric car from Rijeka, which has recently been introduced, reports Novi List on May 18, 2017.
Žikić, an electrical engineer, launched the TORP company about a year ago. The name is a shortened version of the name of the most famous invention from Rijeka – the torpedo. He gained experience in electric vehicle production by working in the internationally renowned company Rimac Automobili, which manufactures electric supercars.
He decided to leave the well-known company and launch his own business due to nostalgia for his hometown. “I grew up in Rijeka, and I wanted to live and work here. That is why I came back and launched this project,” says Žikić.
After he left university, he worked as a ship electrician and then worked for one company from Rijeka which dealt with modern technologies such as 3D printing. After that, he was employed by Rimac Automobili. “At that time, I rode downhill bicycles, which is my great passion, and I practically constructed an electric bicycle at home. I sent pictures and a description of the bicycle to Rimac, who sent me a short question – Are you looking for a job? That is how I started working for Rimac. He did not care if I had a college degree or a CV, the electric bike was enough to give me the job. I worked there first on electric bicycles, then on electric cars, and finally in the development department,” says Žikić, adding that he was very pleased with working for Rimac, but he felt a desire to return to Rijeka.
In his company’s workshop, next to an electric car, there are also several electric motorcycles. One of them is used for the daily commute, which is very convenient and economical. The cost of charging the battery is virtually negligible compared to the cost of conventional gasoline engines.
Together with his associate Denis Lončar, Žikić is currently working on the development of an off-road motorcycle. “We expect a lot from this project, which we have also submitted for co-financing tenders. We have tested the motorcycle in off-road driving conditions and the results are very promising. Driving experience on such a vehicle is quite different from classic motorcycle. It offers a combination of motorcycle power and bicycle manoeuvrability, which is the perfect combination. We have already developed a prototype, and now we are working on a final version, which we will offer to foreign markets, as well as to customers in Croatia. In fact, I was surprised when I realised how strong the Croatian market is in this area. There is an added advantage that there is almost no competition,” says Žikić.