For almost a year, a rumor has been circulating that the Volkswagen group is considering selling Bugatti to the Croatian electric vehicle specialists Rimac. This rumor turns out to be true: On Monday, Porsche and Rimac revealed that they were forming a new joint venture called Bugatti-Rimac at the end of this year. It will be headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, although Bugatti manufacturing will remain where it is currently located in Molsheim, France.
Originally founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, the company became known during the interwar period for cars at the forefront of style and speed, winning Grand Prix as well as the approval of the ultra -riches. Based in Molsheim, Alsace, it sank when Bugatti died in 1947 and disappeared in 1963, before being resurrected by the industrialist Romano Artioli in 1987. In this incarnation, Bugatti set up a high-tech plant in Campogalliano , in Italy, to make the carbon fiber supercar EB110, before a shaky global economy puts a brake on Artioli’s ambitions.
In 1998 Bugatti began its third incarnation when the Volkswagen Group bought the name and returned the company to Molsheim. The driving force was Ferdinand Piech, CEO of the VW Group at the time and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Piech wanted a car with 1,000 horsepower and a top speed of at least 260 mph (418 km / h), and Bugatti delivered it with the Veyron 16.4 in 2005. Since then, it has hand-built a series of ever faster and extremely expensive hypercars. , but more and more questions are being asked about Bugatti’s relevance within the VW group at a time when the rest of the brands are all going electric.
Mate Rimac will become the new CEO of Bugatti-Rimac. Rimac Group will own 55% of the new company and Porsche the remaining 45%, with Porsche also owning 24% of Rimac Group, having invested in the electric vehicle specialist for the first time in 2018. For now, Porsche and Rimac say that Bugatti-Rimac will continue production of the Bugatti Chiron, a petrol hypercar with a V16 engine, and the Rimac Nevera, an electric hypercar also built in very limited numbers.
Ars spoke to Porsche CEO Oliver Blume and Rimac CEO Mate Rimac about the deal. Concretely, we wanted to know when we could see the first battery-powered electric Bugatti, as well as the last Bugatti with an internal combustion engine.
“You know the simplest thing, what some people might expect, is to take the Nevara and slam Bugatti on it and call it a Bugatti, but that’s absolutely not going to happen,” Mr. ‘said Rimac. “We won’t just recycle what we have, we won’t like to just redesign the Chiron into a new car, or just hybridize the Chiron. We’re developing a whole new product from scratch — everything — because we think that’s the best way to go, and that product will always have a combustion engine, ”Rimac said.
“However, we are thinking long term and we are going to add this amazing brand, which has a lot of diversity in its heritage, can be used to make products that are not just hypercars, and these are very exciting manufacturing opportunities,” different cars that are very heavily electrified, and fully electric. So I can tell you that in this decade there will be fully electric Bugattis, but I can also tell you that at the end of this decade there will still be Bugattis combustion engine, ”Rimac told Ars.
“Given the Bugatti heritage and the fan base, and having these two very distinct brands Rimac and Bugatti in the same company, we can do some really cool things. So with Bugatti focusing more on heritage, craftsmanship, details, quality and Rimac focusing more on technology – you know geeks, data, stuff like that. But to answer your question, there will be fully electric Bugattis, but we believe that with the clever combination of electrification and combustion engine, there is still time for the Bugatti combustion engine, ”says Rimac.
You can watch a live streamed event featuring Bugatti-Rimac to the public at 2 p.m. EST on Monday.