Hypercar Maker to Introduce Self-Driving Taxi

The Bugatti parent company is expanding into the mass mobility market

Graham Hope

January 3, 2024

3 Min Read

A new self-driving taxi is set to be revealed over the next few months, produced by an unlikely source – Croatian hypercar maker Rimac.

The company, parent of the legendary Bugatti and developer of the record-breaking 1877bhp Nevera EV, confirmed the news in an interview with U.K. motoring outlet Autocar.

Rimac is expanding into the mass mobility market with a brand called Project 3 Mobility and is ready to show its first product in early 2024 following several years of development.

Although details remain thin on the ground at this stage, founder and CEO Mate Rimac said what is being produced “is a car but a completely different type.”

The focus is expected to be on offering fully autonomous capability, maximizing interior space and providing efficiency from an electric powertrain.

Some clues as to the potential look and size of the EV may be gleaned from the fact that Project 3 Mobility has been using an Espace people carrier, produced by French automaker Renault, for testing.

It is also understood that Korean automaker Kia and software company Infinum are backing the project. Kia jointly invested 80 million Euros in Rimac with sister company Hyundai in 2019.

Equally intriguing as the prospect of a Rimac-backed robotaxi is the fact that the company wants to develop the supporting infrastructure for the AV too. This could feasibly incorporate chargers, storage hubs, parking spaces and more.

Mate Rimac continued that the hope is the project “could change the way people move around cities”, adding that although the service could have a premium edge “that doesn’t mean expensive or posh.” 

Project 3 Mobility was awarded $195 million from the European Union as part of an initiative to accelerate economic growth in the wake of the pandemic and is based in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

CEO Rimac has previously said: “The goal is to produce the vehicles and a large number of components in Croatia and export tens of thousands of units per year to locations where the robotaxi service will be provided.”

In 2021, Rimac claimed to be in negotiations with “with about 20 cities in Europe and the Middle East, which would be the first cities to be provided with a robotics service,” adding “we have already signed cooperation agreements with several cities.” 

However, the latest timeline on the Project 3 Mobility website suggests Zagreb will be the first city to benefit from the service in 2026, with locations in the United Kingdom and Germany following in 2027.

A self-driving taxi is far removed from the sort of performance we have become accustomed to from Rimac. Last May its Nevera hypercar set a total of 23 world records, including the 0-249-0 mph benchmark of 29.93 seconds.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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