Hyundai Motor invests $90m in Croatian EV manufacturer Rimac

South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Group has invested 80 million euros (nearly $90 million) in Croatian electric vehicle firm Rimac Automobili, its existing partner providing high-performance EV technology.

The group’s Hyundai Motor Company has invested 64 million euros, while its Kia Motors unit will put in the rest, according to an official announcement.

The funding follows another corporate investment deal last year that saw Volkswagen’s Porsche take up a 10 per cent stake of Rimac.

With the latest financing, Rimac and Hyundai Motor Group will work together beyond capital alliance to collaborate on two high-performance electric vehicles by 2020.

The South Korean automaker had earlier announced an electrification plan which included deployment of 44 eco-friendly models by 2025. Now it will partner with Rimac to develop an electric version of its N brand sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle.

Hyundai said Rimac’s “startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess” has made it an ideal partner for its roadmap to clean mobility.

“We want to build high-performance vehicles that are not only fast and powerful but also meet the highest expectations of our customers as the car of their dreams. Our goal is to popularise electric vehicles and to create social value through world-class technology and innovation in performance,” Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and head of Hyundai’s product division, said in an earlier statement.

Founded in 2009, Rimac Automobili has developed and manufactured key electrification systems for many global automotive companies.

The company is vertically integrated with many of the components produced in house. In the new facilities currently under way, Rimac said, it will start new high volume production lines for battery packs, powertrain systems and the C_Two hypercar production next year.

“Rimac is still a young and relatively small but fast-growing company. We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry,” said Rimac’s founder and CEO Mate Rimac.

Declaring business priorities for 2019, Hyundai’s executive vice chairman Euisun Chung said in January that the group will focus on enhancing business competitiveness, strengthening future-readiness and innovation of management and organisation systems.

Two months later, it invested $300 million in India’s ride-hailing company Ola as part of fulfilling its smart mobility strategy. In 2018, Hyundai put another $250 million into Southeast Asia’s Grab. Hyundai first invested in Grab in January 2018 with an aim to carry out EV programmes in Southeast Asia.

More recently, the Korean automobile company has also backed Israeli AI voice search engine Audioburst, and partnered with Yandex to develop driverless car technology.