Longin hints at plans for additional Rimac models that could be produced in bigger numbers, relatively speaking. “We’re always going to be niche,” she reiterates, saying hypercars are the focus.
“Mate was very inspired by Tesla’s work and the electric motor and the potential of it,” she says, referencing the often gangly and experimental nature of early EVs that failed to capture mainstream love.
Longin describes Mate as a “self-taught engineer” and “stubborn” while letting slip “lunatic” in describing his hectic style. It’s said in jest but reinforces how different he is from traditional car company chiefs. Born in 1988, he won’t be spotted wearing one of the ties each of his cars proudly pays homage to.
He’s clearly passionate and innovative, yet also an incisive businessman who has built a company employing 550 people (average age 31), each with access to relax rooms with beanbags and PlayStations. But the five buildings spread over almost 10,000 square metres are bursting, with meandering hallways and stairways leading to added-on rooms.
An all-encompassing new ‘campus’, not far from the existing facilities, is planned for the next two or three years. While some may have been tempted to relocate to a country better known for car making, Mate has vehemently pushed back, even knocking back money from one investor for such an offer. Longin says he’s not the sort of bloke who takes kindly to being told something can’t be achieved, a philosophy that seems to have set the template for the company. That and his tireless efforts selling the Rimac wares (the tech, not the cars).
One big win was in 2016, when Mate received a call from a man he lists as “top of my hero list”, Christian von Koenigsegg, a Swede who realised his dream of creating highly desirable, extremely fast cars. Koenigsegg admired the engineering work of Rimac, which could provide the batteries and software for those big electric pulses needed for stupendous acceleration.
It helped that Rimac finished second in the gruelling Pikes Peak hillclimb the year before with a one-off racer driven by Japan’s Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima.