“” The Elon Musk of the Balkans “makes his dream come true by buying a Bugatti”

Mate Rimac, in front of a Rimac Automobili Concept One, in Sveta Nedelja, near Zagreb, in February 2016. DENIS LOVROVIC / AFP

Pertes & profits. Lovers of peaceful hikes and civic conventions, this model is not for you. The Bugatti Chiron, one of the fastest cars in the world, exceeds 400 km / h and consumes 23 liters per 100 kilometers. At maximum speed, its 100-liter tank empties in seven minutes. But when you are ready to spend 3.5 million euros, why worry about consumption? Moreover, Bugatti is also the smallest manufacturer in the world, in terms of volume. Only 80 copies come out each year from its Alsatian factory in Molsheim (Bas-Rhin).

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Unfortunately, for the wealthy owners, the planet is heating up, and in ten years, the thermal monsters, even with 16 cylinders, will have left the circuits for the museums. So, a sign of the times, Bugatti, owned by Volkswagen (VW), fell into the hands of an electric car manufacturer. But not just any. It’s almost as extravagant as the racing cars it can afford. Mate Rimac is Croatian. A country known more for its dream beaches than for its automobile factories. However, in 2009 he decided to create the European Tesla. And it works. Certainly not at the level of his Californian counterpart, but the man who is now nicknamed “the Elon Musk of the Balkans” has already realized his dream of setting up a factory at his home, in the suburbs of Zagreb.

An arrangement without taking out any money

And if it now produces a few hundred electric cars, it has above all made a fortune by manufacturing components to electrify luxury brands like Jaguar or Aston Martin. So much so that Porsche has entered its capital. It was with him that he announced, Monday, July 5, the acquisition of Bugatti. An arrangement without leaving any money, since Porsche is also a subsidiary of VW. The German giant finds a solution to gently convert its mechanical devils into electric rockets, always exceeding 400 km / h.

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We can doubt that Mate Rimac’s crazy toys can contribute greatly to saving the planet, but his extraordinary dynamism, in a country without culture in this area, shows that anything is possible in times of ruptures like the one that begins with the electric car. Ettore Bugatti, a small Italian mechanical genius, arrived in German Alsace in 1902, at the age of 19. He will remain there until his death in 1947. Today, it is a young Croatian who realizes his dream, and comes to recover this brand resuscitated, in 1998, by VW. The revival of the automobile passes through the Balkans.

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