Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Wall Street Journal Sings Rimac's Praises, Makes Comparison with Musk

As Telegram/Vedran Vrabec writes on the 7th of October, 2019, the highly respected American newspaper The Wall Street Journal published a conversation a few days ago with famed Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac, whom they refer to as "the next Elon Musk", claiming that ''Mate Rimac sells lightning in a bottle.''

The wildly popular New York daily begins its story by listing Rimac's numerous business successes.

This Croatian entrepreneur's incredible technology is embedded in the cars of famous manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Renault and Koenigsegg, his company attracted investment from Hyundai and Porsche, and VW acquired a 5.5 percent stake in Rimac's company last month, according to the aforementioned text.

"I think he's a genius," Heiko Mayer, who works on the Porsche electric model project, Taycana, said of Rimac. "I think he's going to become a legend."

Last month, Koenigsegg's Reger, a supercar powered by Mate Rimac's battery system, broke one of its most extreme speed records, when it reached 0 to 400 km/h in just 31.49 seconds, WSJ reports.

"Why do all these big companies come to strange, remote Zagreb, when they themselves have far greater resources? What is it that Rimac is doing differently?'' asked a New York journalist who spoke to the Croatian businessman.

"There's no 'silver bullet' that will solve all your problems," said the entrepreneur from Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who impressed the journalist with his excellent command of English, among other things. "There's a lot of optimisation, trying new things, experimenting; it's important to be quick, to test out ideas, concepts, simulations and detailed prototypes over and over again,'' explained Rimac.

The same is done in Porsche, the journalist notes, to which he explains that big manufacturers must be "technologically conservative." Rimac himself is certainly not conservative, as evidenced by the fact that his company's technology has not been patented. "If someone is so good to be able to copy us, go ahead, copy us, you deserve it. We're so quick that we move forward two generations before that technology can be protected,'' he said.

Mate Rimac built his business entirely from scratch, as the text states. The Republic of Croatia is one of only a handful of EU member states where there is no production of cars or auto parts other than his company, it is noted.

Rimac says his lack of investment from abroad was a big problem in the early stages of starting a business, as was the fact that there was nobody in Croatia to learn from about that type of business. "There was no market, there were no companies from which we could pull workers with some experience. Nobody knew how to make a chassis or a suspension, develop a crash test, develop headlights...'' Rimac tells WSJ of his rough beginnings.

His first product, the Concept One, turned out to be a real electric beast. It gained worldwide fame in 2017, when Richard Hammond, the host of the popular British show Top Gear, crashed it. To date, the company has recruited up to 600 employees, and has outgrown its existing facilities. Last year, Rimac introduced a successor to the Unit, named the C_Two.

In addition to the new car, Rimac Automobili is also planning a new complex, which reminded the respected American publication of something otherworldly, almost as if out of Star Trek. Rimac's new campus is set to be built on land covering 22 acres, near a 15th-century mansion. Among other things, it will have a green roof, and will also be home to animals, and Rimac (who is a vegetarian) hopes that their presence will make people think twice about eating meat.

In addition to all of the above, the complex will also feature a large outdoor meeting space, restaurants, a nursery, a hotel in the woods and more.

In addition to the production of parts for large automotive companies, a smaller number of Rimac supercars will be produced there, no more than three or four per month. "Costing two million dollars per car, this is no small business," said Rimac, whom the Wall Street Journal describes at the end of the text as a man obsessed with cars, speed, technology and, more recently, the launch of the Croatian automotive industry.

"Is all this good for me? Certainly not,'' Mate says with a laugh. "To do something like this means sacrificing everything else. I've accepted that. I have no time for myself or my friends.''

When asked about how he feels about Elon Musk, Rimac replies that he has never spoken to him. "But I'd like to talk about some things," he says.

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