EV startup Rimac scores $90M investment from Hyundai and Kia

Rimac Automobili, the European EV startup that landed an investment from Porsche last year, has again gained the backing of traditional automakers after Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors jointly invested €80 million, or around $90 million.

Beyond the significant cash infusion, the three parties said the deal includes “a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles.” In other words, Hyundai and Kia — both of which fall under the ownership of Hyundai Motor Group — plan to work very closely with Rimac, which is based in Croatia, to bring electric vehicles to market under their brands.

Already we have an idea of what that will look like.

Today’s announcement teased an electric car within Hyundai’s N sports car division and a “high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle,” both of which will include collaboration between the Korean group and Rimac. (It’s worth noting that Rimac is already a supplier for Hyundai Motor Group so the two sides are well acquainted.)

Rimac’s back story is fascinating. The company was founded in 2009 by then-21-year-old Mate Rimac who developed an electric vehicle in his garage. Today, the company is 500 people strong and aside from supplying parts to manufacturers — specifically high-voltage battery technology and electric powertrains — it designs in-car digital interfaces, runs a subsidiary-focused on electrics, and develops impressive electric “hypercars.” Its vehicles include the C Two, pictured at the top of this post at the Geneva International Motor Show.

The startup’s own boilerplate explains neatly why it is teaming up with major names like Porsche and Hyundai.

“The next challenge ahead is to grow from a low volume manufacturer of complex high-end electrification components, to an established Tier-1 supplier for the industry,” it reads.

Decades of automotive know-how from its investors with experience is sure to help there.

[Left to right] Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, and Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, seal the deal

As for Hyundai Motor Group, the Korean firm has embarked on a series of deals as it looks to tap into tech to grow its business. That’s included investments in companies like Grab in Southeast Asia ($250 million), car infotainment startup Audioburst and, in India, car rental service Revv and Uber rival Ola, in a deal related to its EV unit.

On the partnership side, Hyundai is working with Russia’s Yandex on self-driving tech, Amazon on virtual showrooms and more.