By on May 14, 2019

In today’s episode of Surprising Bedfellows, we find the corporate duo of Hyundai/Kia throwing money in the general direction of Rimac. Technically titled Rimac Automobili, it’s the Croatian high-performance EV company known for making the outrageously fast Concept One supercar, a vehicle thrust into the public eye when Richard Hammond binned one at a Swiss hillclimb. That was a wreck from which he mercifully has recovered. Legend has it that the subsequent media exposure helped the company sell three units that same day.

Today, the EV company announced a $90 million partnership with the Korean giants. They’ll be working together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle.

Wait, what?

In addition to the big money investment, a huge story in its own right, this news seemingly confirms the mysterious mid-engined Hyundai that’s been spied roaming around the world’s snazziest racetracks. Believed to be based on the Veloster, it is often referred to as the RM 16 N, a sexy name if there ever was one. Someone from McLaren must be in charge of marketing.

Regardless, Hyundai has been building mid-engined Veloster concepts for the last three or four years, regularly appearing at the Busan Motor Show. The most recent example was powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four bolted directly to the driver’s spine, allowing for a 43/57 weight distribution and over 300 horsepower. After years of skeptical speculation, this $90m Rimac deal indicates the RM is indeed real. The image below is of Rimac assembly.

“Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us.”

The words “Clean Mobility” were thrown around with much abandon, indicating that Hyundai/Kia has some big plans in that area — even bigger than they’ve already deployed. Its array of vehicles in this segment already number seven, assuming one counts the three different versions of the Ioniq.

This tie-up also has the ability to juice Rimac’s stature in other areas. At today’s announcement, founder and CEO Mate Rimac pointed out that “that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.” Good pun, by the way. Shocking, even.

We’ll know more in the days and weeks ahead.

[Images: Rimac]

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