Friday, 6 November 2020

Rimac: Production of Electric Cars Opportunity for Croatia

ZAGREB, November 6, 2020 - In ten years time vehicles will be autonomous, networked, electric and shared, which is an opportunity for Croatia to create a new business model, owner of the Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac said at a conference on electromobility and autonomous cars technology.

During the videoconference, organised on Friday by the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences' (HAZU) Scientific Council for Technological Development, Rimac underscores said that the future of automobility is changing as too many people are losing their lives on the road.

"Electric autonomous vehicles are able to reduce the number of fatalities in road accidents by more than 90 percent," said Rimac.

He added that one robo-taxi could replace 20 traditional vehicles.

He added that the C2 Rimac automobile was ready for autonomous driving adding that Croatia's potential is not exploited sufficiently and that Croatia is one of the rare European countries that does not have a strong automobile industry.

"Slovakia has become the centre of the automobile industry, Estonia for startups and digitisation so why shouldn't Croatia be the centre for electric and autonomous vehicles?," Rimac asked adding that two huge investment waves  in the automobile industry have already passed us by," he said.

The conference also heard that according to a report by the European association of vehicle manufacturers, eastern Europe is falling behind in developing infrastructure for electric vehicle filling stations. About 200,000 publicly accessible filling stations have been installed per 400 million population which means that there is one station per 2,000 population.

There are currently 500 electric vehicle filling stations in Croatia or 1 per 9,000 inhabitants.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

HEP Group Presents 16 Additional e-Cars Chargers on Croatian Highways

E-cars actually work like giant smart phones, people from Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP Group, Croatian national electric company) told journalist Lucija Špiljak from They took her from the Croatian headquarters in Zagreb towards Brinje, where HEP presented 16 additional chargers for the e-cars which were financed by EU funds. The driver who took them to Brinje never drove an e-car before, but he was satisfied, and described it as solid and stable, adding that he'd happily replace his classic car with an electric car like that.

July 10th is symbolic because that's the day when we celebrate the National Nikola Tesla Day, the day of science, technology and innovations. On that day Croatia was put on the European map of electromobility and the Trans-European traffic network. The 16 new chargers were installed at rest-stops Ljubeščica, Vukova Gorica, Brinje and Lepenica Sjever, as well as entry/exit points to the highways in Goričan and Sesvetski Kraljevec, and in Vrbovsko, Čavle, Delnice and Fužine near A6 highway.

HEP Group is the leader in the Croatian energy transition and today there are around 70 public ELEN chargers. Their project eMobility aims to keep the Group in line with the energy strategy of the EU, with the basic idea that the electricity from the renewable sources is to be used to power the electric vehicles. The Directive proposes that by the end of 2020 the chargers for e-cars be available every 50 km of highways, in every inhabited place with over 20000 inhabitants as well as all major ports. 

CEO of the HEP Group Frane Barbarić told journalists that the Norwegian tourists, which is a leader in the number of the e-cars, can get to Croatia fast and easily. And now it's also gotten possible to get from the borders with Slovenia and Hungary to the Adriatic without problems. We want to make sure our citizens as well as tourists can drive safely between destinations in Croatia, mr. Barbarić added. When all of those projects are finished, by the end of 2020, HEP's network will comprise more than 100 chargers, which will be worth more than 60 million kuna. He also announced major investment into wind turbines, after the HEP Group has already invested significantly into solar plants.

Domagoj Puzak, the leader of the eMobility team within HEP Group explained that the charger in Brinje is a fast charger, with the power of 50 kW. The charging lasts up to an hour, and the ultra-fast charging in the future will last 15 to 30 minutes. He added that all of the e-cars on the market can connect to one of the three kinds of adapters available at the charger.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

First Porsche Destination Charging Station in Croatia in Esplanade Hotel

A couple of years ago, Zagreb's Esplanade Hotel was the first hotel in the region to install the destination chargers for Tesla electric cars.

Now, the hotel has made another step into exploring sustainable business models, and has come to an agreement with Porsche. The prestigious German car-maker has installed the Porsche Destination Charging station in the hotel as well. This newest addition to the Esplanade Hotel garage will allow all Porsche electric car owners to charge their cars there free of charge - but the same thing will be available to all-electric cars that have a standard European charging connector, writes.

Ivica Max Krizmanić, the director of the Esplanade Hotel said that this addition to the services offered by the hotel proves that they are still at the top of the market, following the newest trends in luxurious services provided to their guests, trying to best their expectations and offer a different experience of a hotel stay. He added that the hotel has decided to support those customers who have a Porsche vehicle or any other electric car with a European connector by providing the free charging.

Their experience has shown that the guests are delighted by such innovations, and introducing the newest trends in luxury services is their way of doing business, one they're particularly proud of. Since they've had Tesla Destination Chargers for a while now, they hope that with this addition their garage and parking spot will feature only the "green" cars.

Porsche destination charging station for the electric vehicles offers 11 kW of power, and it takes a few hours to fully charge the batteries of a car. The Type 2 Model of the charger is located in Esplanade hotel, and you can charge all European hybryd and electric cars there, which makes it even more important as it can be used on a large number of types of vehicles. Currently, there are 49 thousand such Porsche charging stations in Europe, in 12 different countries. The one in Esplanade hotel is the first one in Croatia, but people from Porsche Croatia believe that the network will soon expand, as the number of hybrid and electric vehicles is growing in Croatia rapidly.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Rimac Gives Croatian Government Lesson on Innovation and Car Industry

As Jasmina Trstenjak/Filip Pavic/Novac writes on the 1st of May, 2019, the Republic of Croatia does have a chance in the car industry, and it can improve its investment portfolio with certain active and proactive measures, open up opportunities for the development of new industries, and not miss this third train, since it has already missed two. Rimac Automobili, the company of one of Croatia's most successful entrepreneurs, Mate Rimac, is more than ready to help if Croatia truly wants to attract the car industry to Croatia. With some work put in to it, it's possible.

The above is one of the key messages given by Mate Rimac, the founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, which was part of the "Croatia E-mobility Forum", held recently at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb and organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and Jutarnji List, during which spoke about "How Croatia can attract the automotive industry".

In his presentation, among other things, analysed the countries that make up Central and Eastern Europe, what the automotive industry brought to them (growth, jobs, contribution to GDP...), which attracted investors, just how Croatia stands in this aspect. He also noted some key trends that are already transforming the car industry.

The automotive industry is completely changing, therefore the use of cars will eventually alter too. People will, at some point, no longer be car owners, they might not even bother to learn to drive, but all this will open up many new doors. Trends show that many cars will become autonomous by 2030, they will all be connected to the internet, more electrification will occur, and the car sharing will become more common. Mate Rimac discussed these points, full of experience as his own company, which has grown into a powerful technology company over the past decade and attracted more investment than all the technology companies in Croatia.

So far, Rimac Automobili has attracted more than 60 million euros in foreign investment, and that's not even counting the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has provided the company with a 30 million euro loan last year. The last investor in Rimac Automobili was no less than Porsche, and that was the very first time Porsche invested in another company.

''We don't want this to be the last investment, but we need to attract investments. Not only because of us, but also because of the state, so that the automotive industry invests in other things in Croatia. This year, a big investor will enter into the structure of our company. It's a 150 million euro investment, and the details on that will be known in a few weeks,'' revealed Rimac. He also emphasised the significance and the power of the branch in which he works - if the automotive industry was a country, it would be the fourth largest in the entire world!

However, rather unsurprisingly, Croatia is lagging behind quite significantly when compared to others, the automotive industry has spread very well across the whole of Europe and Croatia is almost the only exception. Two waves of investment in the region have already been and gone. The first was in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, the second was in Romania and Slovakia, and now a lot is being invested in neighbouring Serbia.

In the aforementioned countries, the automotive industry started practically from scratch and through the investments of other manufacturers, unassuming little Slovakia has become the largest car maker per capita in the world today. Therefore, in his extensive presentation, Rimac also commented on the way companies choose their sites, what their criteria are, and, when comparing Croatia with other countries, he found that Croatia is not one of the best candidates at all.

''Croatia has thirteen billion dollars worth of exports, with four million people. Slovakia has a million residents and more than 78 billion dollars in exports, out of which, 20 billion dollars of exports are in cars and parts alone. Let's look at some closer neighbors. Slovenia, with more than two million inhabitants, is exporting more than Croatia, and once again, their main export products are cars, and for us, it's wood,'' said Rimac, adding that these countries attracted companies with their favourable labour costs, but also for their talents and good faculties, infrastructure and available capital.

He also noted that Croatia has less than a billion dollars of automotive revenue, while, let's say, the Czech Republic has 41 billion dollars, and it has a strong potential. Thus, Croatia has less than half a percent of GDP, and the Czech Republic accounts for more than five percent of its GDP directly from the automotive industry, which is indeed a very defeating comparison. In the CEE region, investments have occurred thanks to generally cheap labour, and although much of it has well and truly bypassed Croatia, Mate Rimac is certain that there is a way to attract this industry still. Not necessarily with cheaper labour, but also with new opportunities.

''Hundreds of e-car models are coming onto the market. They're developed during a period of four to seven years and what's going on in the labs today will be on the roads within several years. There is a tremendous opportunity since today's share of three percent in sales will jump to 60 percent in the coming decades. That's why there's a lot of investment going on in the automotive industry, in startups and in technology companies. So far, more than 25 billion dollars has been invested through investment ventures, and this is where that industry is heading. There are investments in the development of batteries, in companies that make sensors and the like. The portfolio is bigger than it used to be. Also, there's a lot of heavy investment in development, and budgets are larger,'' noted Rimac.

Rimac also added that not everything is so black, although Croatia is of course late ''to the party'', and is missing out on the opportunity to join the development of the automotive industry by modelling itself on the countries of the CEE region. That industry, he says, is growing steadily, and countries are committed to receiving investments and attracting firms.

''We don't want just any investment, but those that give maximum benefit. But it's not about how much the state will encourage these industries to come. The state must first determine in which direction it wants to go, which industries it has, and then work proactively. England has a great initiative and it does very well because it has a complex program for the automotive industry, it works proactively, runs research centres, test sites... Therefore, proactive measures and projects are needed if there's a desire to go in that direction,'' Rimac said.

The presentation outlined nineteen action measures that the Croatian state should take to accelerate the automotive industry's progress in Croatia.

He mentioned that employees should be allowed to enter into company ownership and there should be a reduction in income taxes on high salaries.

Universities should make sure their programs include more machine learning, artificial intelligence, and electrical engineering.

Universities should employ professors from the STEM sector with scientific reputations, Rimac believes, and invest in equipping faculties and linking universities with actual investors.

In addition, the state should implement tax incentives for R&D-oriented companies, as well as meet with relevant engineers, as well as take a more proactive role in industrial development in co-operation with potential foreign investors.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, it's very important to encourage international contacts with cities that have developed automotive and innovation hubs and additionally invest in the 5G network for all households.

When it comes to specific measures for the automotive industry, among the measures listed above, it's necessary for foreign automotive employees to have temporary housing and job search support provided to the employee's life partner.

Additionally, one of the measures implies the establishment of an international school, where teaching will be conducted in foreign languages.

As far as the infrastructure of the auto industry itself is concerned, Rimac says that the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads should be legalised, there should be an institute for electric and autonomous vehicles established, as well as an institute for artificial intelligence, as well as centres of competence and innovation hubs.

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Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak/Filip Pavic for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 6 July 2018

EU Funds Help Croatian Company Develop Electric Vehicle

While it isn't quite a supercar in question, a massive investment of 30.4 million kuna, of which 15.9 million kuna come from European Union funds, has been poured into the project.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Rijeka Gets First E-Charger for Electric Vehicles!

A step into the future of driving for Rijeka!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Chinese Investor and Zadar Entrepreneur Team Up in Name of Electric Vehicles

Green Tech Group has signed a 16 million kuna contract with the municipality for the sale of 53 hectares of land as e-vehicle production turns its sights towards the Neretva valley.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Rimac Automobili to Launch Electric Supercar 'Concept Two' in 2018

The second generation of Rimac's electric supercars is just around the corner