Not Your Average Electric
We've already talked a little about how Rimac is different from other electric vehicle manufacturers. In plain terms, Rimac isn't going for the environmentally friendly angle. It's all about the juice. Don't kid yourself thinking of meek little hybrids or golf-kart-like electric city cars. Electric motors offer a lot of performance and efficiency benefits over combustion engines. And that's why Mate Rimac chose to work with them. If you're looking for a light environmental footprint, a small electric motor can do that ... but if you're looking for speed, a much bigger and more expensive electric motor might be your answer.
Permanent magnet electric motors, the type used in the Concept_One, respond quickly to driver input, and they also boast a wide power band and a lot of torque. They're much smaller than a typical gasoline-powered engine and transmission, which simplifies design and engineering. And they provide regenerative braking functionality, which means that some of the power from deceleration is captured and reused, which improves efficiency.
Most mainstream electric vehicles feature just one motor, and though it might not be situated directly under the hood, the layout is typically pretty similar to that of a gas-powered car. Not so with Rimac, who has designed a system called All Wheel Torque Vectoring. Each of the Concept_One's four wheels has its own oil-cooled motor, inverter and reduction gearbox. And they operate completely independently of each other; although, each motor has an ECU (electronic control unit) that is networked to a system of sensors all over the car. It sounds like the car is doing most of the work, but the driver can change between understeer, neutral and oversteer modes. The driving mode system is a safety feature as well as a fun feature, since it reacts to the driver's selection faster than a traditional electronic stability control system could. All Wheel Torque Vectoring enables each wheel to operate independently, and it also eliminates the shift time lag that every spirited driver dreads. Because the power source isn't front and center (or rear and center, or even mid-center) the Concept_One has better weight distribution and a very low center of gravity, both of which help deliver great handling.
Rimac Automobili designed all of the components for the Concept_One, which wasn't easy, but the battery was among the biggest challenges. Rimac wanted the Concept_One to store plenty of energy, but had to keep the battery small because of weight concerns. The result is a 92 kW battery that can deliver, or receive, more than a megawatt of power. Power delivery and storage are stable enough to take the Concept_One on the track. The battery also makes the Concept_One pretty usable -- it's not intended to be a garage queen. The car's maximum range is about 372.8 miles (600 kilometers); although, Rimac concedes that the car probably won't be driven at optimum efficiency, bringing the realistic range estimate to something more like 310.7 miles (500 kilometers). But that still edges out even the best-equipped Tesla Model S available. And while it wasn't designed as an eco-car, the Concept_One is estimated to achieve about 114 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent).