High Power and Reliability -- Wrapped in Carbon Fiber
So, if sustainability isn't part of the agenda for an electric vehicle, then what is? The Rimac team focused on high power, low weight, and reliability, and once those goals were accomplished, they thought about the rest of the car. The Concept_One's exterior might not have been the highest priority, but its importance certainly wasn't overlooked. The body is constructed entirely of carbon fiber. That's a high-end material that pops up in plenty of sports and performance cars, but for the most part, it's used pretty sparingly and conspicuously because it's so expensive that it might as well be woven out of money. Rimac opted for carbon fiber because of its exclusivity as much as its strength and light weight. The car's underbody also features extensive use of carbon fiber, helping to keep the weight down. Then, Rimac decided that the body would be finished in two complementary colors to accentuate the car's profile and small stature, while an exposed carbon fiber accent area reveals a hint of the Concept_One's abilities (and economic stature). The front grill is ornamental, since the Concept_One doesn't need airflow under the hood to feed the engine, like a typical gasoline- or diesel-powered car does.
Rimac assembled a team of former Pininfarina employees to design the cabin. The Italian coachbuilding firm is renowned for coming up with interiors that swaddle the butts of even the most discerning customers. This resulted in a leather-draped, driver-centric cockpit -- because Concept_One drivers clearly wouldn't have it any other way. The ride height is electronically adjustable, not that a buyer will ever want to venture off road (but maybe it'll help if they spin off the track). All four brakes are ventilated ceramic discs, with 6-piston calipers up front and 4-piston calipers in back (so, maybe the driver won't go spinning off the track). And, in case of an outrageously expensive crash, front and side airbags will deploy and a safety disconnect system will kick in. The ECU system will monitor the entire car to make sure everything is functioning properly.
In short, the Rimac Concept_One is way more than an all-electric car has ever been before, and maybe even more than an electric car really needs to be. But it's definitely pushing the limits, and showing great potential. And Mate Rimac promises that it's really, really nice.
Author's Note: How the Rimac Concept One Will Work
Mate Rimac, the founder of Rimac Automobili and the designer of the Concept_One, doesn't really want to license out his company's inventions. He told The Wall Street Journal he has to, though, otherwise the company won't be able to survive [source: Isaacson]. It's too bad that the founder of an innovative company has to sacrifice his ideals (and at such a young age) but this may be a good thing for other companies interested in making electric cars -- and the consumers who might want to buy one, but don't have a million bucks to spare. If Rimac's electric car components really are the best, new and improved EVs can't be far behind.
- DeMorro, Christopher. "Rimac Concept One Production to Begin in 2015." CleanTechnica. Feb. 20, 2014. (June 29, 2014) http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/20/rimac-concept-one-production-begin-2015/
- Isaacson, Andy. "Engineer Mate Rimac Revolutionizes Electric Cars." The Wall Street Journal. Nov. 7, 2013. (June 29, 2014) http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303376904579135881128871014
- Rimac Automobili. "Introduction to Concept_One." (June 29, 2014) http://www.rimac-automobili.com/concept_one/introduction-20
- Vijayenthiran, Viknesh. "1,088-HP Rimac Concept One Electric Car on Sale for $980,000." Motor Authority. May 1, 2014. (June 29, 2014) http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1075812_1088-hp-rimac-concept-one-electric-car-on-sale-for-980000