Hyundai, Kia invest $90 million in Rimac

Rimac will help the South Korean firms develop two hot-rodded EVs.

Hyundai's N division will develop electric and hydrogen-powered performance cars with help from Croatian start-up Rimac. Hyundai and Kia have joined forces to invest 80 million euros (about $90 million at the current conversion rate) in the 10-year old firm in exchange for its unique expertise.

The first car that Rimac will help Hyundai develop is the production version of the mid-engined, Veloster-like prototype (pictured) that has taken on many different forms over the past couple of years. Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to precisely what the car will be powered by, what it will look like, and how quickly it will accelerate. Hyundai and Rimac remained tight-lipped about the project.

The second car in the pipeline is even more enigmatic. The statement released to announce the tie-up describes it as a high-performance fuel cell vehicle. It's an intriguing proposition, fuel cell-powered production cars have all been dowdy crossovers like Hyundai's own Nexo or odd-looking sedans like the Toyota Mirai. Is hydrogen the element that's missing in engineers' quest to turn the Genesis Essentia concept from 2018 into a production car? It's a guess, but not an unreasonable one.

Development work is scheduled to begin by 2020, so we'll hopefully learn more about both projects in the coming months. Meanwhile, Rimac is busily gearing up to launch production of the C_Two, the sold-out, 1,900-horsepower electric hypercar it unveiled during the 2018 Geneva auto show. It's also working with Porsche -- which owns a 10-percent stake in Rimac -- on projects that haven't been made public yet.

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