Croatian Super-Car: China's Camel group invests $36 million in Croatia's Rimac
Croatian car manufacturer Rimac made world headlines when its super-car known as the "Concept One" broke several top speed records. Now, Asia's largest car battery producer, a Chinese company named Camel, is investing millions of dollars into the Croatian firm. The aim is to kick-start mass production of heavy duty batteries for electric cars. CGTN's Aljosa Milenkovic visited Rimac's factory and has this report.
It's a 1,000-horsepower battery powered electric monster - capable of exceeding speeds of 350 kilometers per hour. With an ultra-modern, lightweight, custom made look it comes in with a hefty price tag of around 1 million US dollars.
And despite having only 8 examples planned, manufactured and sold, it's more of a technology showcase than a true mass produced car.
ALJOSA MILENKOVIC ZAGREB "It all started with a young boy's wish to show that electric cars can be fun, attractive and insanely fast. That desire created this outstanding technological marvel, hundreds of jobs and also landed over 35 million dollars worth of Chinese investment."
At the heart of the vehicle are high tech batteries like this one. They are produced behind this glass wall, and their production process is one of the company's best kept secrets.
And it's exactly that technology that has attracted Chinese Camel Group to invest in this small Croatian car factory.
MATE RIMAC OWNER OF "RIMAC AUTOMOBILI "Together, we are forming joint venture in China to bring those technologies to China and to help Chinese car, bus and commercial vehicles manufacturers to electrify their products. So, we'll set up factory in Xiangyang to produce our powertrain systems together with "Camel" and to help China transition faster to electric vehicles fleet."
So, Rimac Automobili is the new kid on the block, trying to challenge the world's automotive giants. And to achieve that goal it needed help, which came from China.
MLADEN ALVIROVIC AUTOMOTIVE EXPERT, SAT MAGAZINE "Electric cars and electric propulsion is excellent opportunity for many companies that never had any contacts with auto industry, to come on top of the game. New people, new companies, new players are coming on top of the game very, very fast. This is their opportunity, so if they wait too long, this holly grail of electric vehicles might be purchased by somebody else."
As China gears up to scrap fossil fuel based vehicles in the next several years, Camel Group's joint venture with Rimac is quite fitting appropriate logical timely.
But taking a closer look at this collaboration between these two companies, it sets out to be just the first step in furthering China - Croatia economic collaboration.
LUKA BURILOVIC HEAD OF CROATIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE "I'm exceptionally happy with this Chinese investment in Rimac and also in the Krapinske Toplice spa. These are not huge investments, but they are the first steps. I hope that they will act as catalyst for other Chinese companies to invest here, particularly in our tourism business."
In 2016, trade levels between the two countries were just over 700 million US dollars. And with potential on the rise, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has expressed its hope that the significant growth and cooperation will expand. Aljosa Milenkovic, CGTN, Zagreb.