Rimac breaks the electric car speed barrier

A petrol-powered Bugatti, however, still holds the overall title for fastest car any old multimillionaire can buy 


IT’S official: The US$2.1 million (RM9.52 million) Rimac Nevera is the fastest electric car in the world. With a few disclaimers. 

The two-seat hypercar reached a top speed of 412kph (256mph) on Oct 23 on the ATP Automotive Testing track in Papenburg, Germany — that’s two mph slower than what Rimac had long claimed as the Nevera’s top speed. Additionally, on the Nov 15 press release announcing the news, Rimac said it hit 258mph, which would actually be 415kph. 

When asked about the conversion discrepancy, and if they would issue a correction, a Rimac spokesperson said the company had not attempted to hit the high-speed mark until recently and that “Google had previously converted [412kph] to 258mph”. 

In fact, the claimed top-speed run requires an additional parenthetical: A representative from Guinness World Records was not on-site to certify the record, the spokesperson said, “because it takes an extremely long time to get Guinness certified”. Instead, Rimac used Racelogic V-Box, a high-precision device that measures speed via GPS, to document the run. 

Still, assuming this is just a clerical error, it’s an exciting turn in the world of electric cars that consumers can actually buy. The effort beat stated top speeds from other electric vehicles like the Pininfarina Battista (217mph) and Aspark Owl (249mph); a modified Tesla Model S Plaid reached 216mph this past summer. 

However, the Nevera’s white-knuckle electric accomplishment doesn’t beat the top speed record for internal combustion engine cars, which is currently held by the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ that hit 304mph in 2019.

Koenigsegg and SSC Tuatara also make production cars with higher top speeds than the Nevera. By comparison, the typical Formula One race car hits top speeds of roughly 220mph. 

Miro Zrnčević, Rimac’s chief test and development driver, piloted the 1,914hp hypercar to its limit. 

“I’ve driven Nevera since it first turned a wheel and to see the perfectly honed car that is today is a really emotional moment,” he said in a press statement, noting that 258mph is one-third of the speed of sound. “The most important thing I have learned during the top-speed attempt is how composed and stable the car was.” 

The Nevera runs on a four-mo-tor, all-electric powertrain with 1,725 lb-ft of torque, able to be adjusted individually for each wheel. Six drive modes further optimise throttle response and suspension stiffness; drift mode and launch control are included. The company says the car will get 300 miles per charge, but of course that distance diminishes considerably as you approach top speed. 

Customer cars come with a top speed limited to 219mph, but those can be tuned to hit 258mph with the support from the Rimac team and under controlled conditions with proper tyres and precautions, the spokesperson said. 

Rimac belongs to Rimac Group, an umbrella company that owns 55% of Bugatti Rimac and 100% of Rimac Technology, a supplier of high-performance battery systems that employs 1,000 people on the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia, where Neveras are manufactured. 

Earlier this year, Formula One driver Nico Rosberg received the first one delivered. — Bloomberg

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition