Croatia Could Become Centre for Sports Car Development and Production

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 22nd of September, 2020, although much more water will flow under the Sava’s bridges before electric cars in this area become something normal and in mass use, progress is still visible almost on a monthly basis. Could Croatia become a global centre for sports car development and production?

The first commercial electric cars appeared about 10 years ago, and only a few years later in Croatia began subsidies for their purchase with a hefty amount of up to 10 thousand euros per car, making the country among the most generous in the EU. While at first subsidies were mostly sought after and distributed for hybrid vehicles with electro-petrol engines, now the focus is firmly on electric cars.

All this led to the figure of almost a thousand electric cars with Croatian license plates. Although this figure makes a statistical error in the mass of a total of 2.2 million registered motor vehicles in Croatia (about 1.8 million passenger cars), progress is still visible. While in northern Europe the electrification of the vehicle fleet has started to reach double-digit shares, and Norway has gone the furthest, in the rest of Europe, those numbers and shares are still modest.

In the whole story, Croatia is in a somewhat specific situation. Although there is no automotive industry, the pioneering attempt of Mate Rimac and his Rimac Automobili has led his story to serious dimensions that are measured in billions in value. Rimac is mainly engaged in designing and manufacturing technology for other electric car manufacturers, but he also presented his demonstration examples of hypersport vehicles through the Concept_One and C_Two, which, as the names suggest, are actually still concepts without mass production.

Plans with Bugatti

But just as the Kostelic family once created hundreds of thousands of recreational skiers in Croatia with their global skiing success, mostly out of fans of the sea and the sun, the story about Rimac made electric cars in Croatia a hot topic for everyone in Croatia. This story is evolving and moving forward all the time, and although it is currently difficult to distinguish what is true and what is just a set of wishes, Croatia could soon become a global centre for sports car development and production.

In addition to its Concepts, Rimac could soon take over the production of the globally much better known brand, Bugatti, which is currently part of the Volkswagen Group. As Rimac’s company has already caught the eye of Porsche, which is also a prominent member of the VW family, it seems that VW wants to concentrate its production of hypersports cars in Croatia, which would result in a larger or smaller ownership stake in Rimac Automobili. The fact that the largest German automotive industry is seriously counting on an ”electric future” is also showcased by the fact that just last week they had the presentation of one of perhaps their most significant models of this decade – The Porsche Taycan.

Although VW already had electric cars under its belt, primarily Golf and Up, as an upgrade of the brands of well-known petrol and diesel cars, Taycan is still one step further. Motives for purchasing electric cars can be reduced to three main reasons – environmental awareness, savings and speed.

While in Croatia e-cars are mostly procured for the expected savings – because electricity is cheaper than fuel and oil, and charging at public filling stations across the country is still mostly free, in northern Europe the most common reason for the purchase of e-cars is environmental awareness.

The story with the Taycan is based on speed. Electric cars have much higher accelerations due to their technology. For example, the standard petrol Porsche has an acceleration of 0-100 km / h in 3.2-5 seconds, while the strongest Taycan takes only 2.8 seconds to reach the same speed. Rimac’s Concept_One takes 2.6 seconds and the C Two takes 1.8 seconds.

Could Croatia really become the new sports car development and production centre? With the likes of Mate Rimac and everything he has so miraculously acheived so far, from gaining the attention of the likes of Porsche to placing the country on the automotive map, it is becoming less and less difficult to imagine.

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