Cars with a regular multi-speed transmission cannot reverse as fast as they can go forward due to gear shifting. In the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, this was theoretically possible with DAF cars equipped with stepless CVT transmissions. But he backed up just as fast as the velorex went forward. For him, the engine turned in the opposite direction and it sputtered on all four speeds and in reverse.
New possibilities in this direction are brought by electric cars, which, due to the single-speed reduction gearbox for driving backwards or forwards, could theoretically drive almost equally fast in both directions. When you need to drive backwards, the polarity of the electric motor or electric motors is simply reversed and it can start. In practice, however, you cannot drive very fast because of the limiter, because after the slightest movement of the steering wheel, but also due to the shape of the body, designed with forward driving in mind, they can quickly become very unstable.
A few years ago, they tested in Great Britain how an electric Nissan Leaf can reverse quickly when the limiter is unlocked. And they reached a speed of 145 km/h. In the Guinness Book of Records in this discipline for 22 years until this year, Briton Darren Manning reigned, who in 2001 managed to reverse at a speed of 165.08 km/h with a specially modified Caterham 7 Fireblade. On November 7, however, Croatian Goran Drndak surpassed him by more than 100 km/h behind the wheel of the Rimac Nevera electric hypersport. It reached a speed of 275.74 km/h on the wide track of the ATP Automotive Testing test site in Papenburg, Germany. That is, only a little lower than that developed by the once fastest car in the world, the Lamborghini Miura, when driving forward.
“During the development of the Rimac Nevera, we discovered that the car could probably become the fastest car in the world in reverse. We laughed at that. Aerodynamics and cooling, however, were not designed so that the car would drive behind at such a speed. But then we started talking about how fun it would be to try it,” said Matija Reniç, chief engineer at Rimac, continuing: “Our simulations showed that we could reach over 240 km/h per hour, but we had no idea how stable car at high speeds will; we were entering unknown territory.’
The Nevera can go forward at up to 412 km/h, but the shape of the car, its rear wing and cooling are set for forward driving. And the fact that the driver sits behind the wheel in his standard position is also very limiting.
During his record-breaking drive, Goran Drndak tried to hold the steering wheel as firmly as possible, not to move it, and to stay on or just next to the center line of the test polygon. But the advantage of the electric car is the fact that the four electric nevery motors with a total output of 1,408 kW (1,914 hp) enable the distribution of torque to the wheels much more smoothly than combustion engines can do. They take much longer to reach peak performance. With an electric motor for each wheel, the Nevera’s powertrain can measure traction in real time much faster and adjust torque delivery accordingly. Rimac claims the all-wheel drive system can take 100 torque measurements per second.
Croatian hypersport is a car of many superlatives. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km in 1.82, and it set over two dozen world records this year. In mid-May, he managed 23 of them in a single day, and including acceleration 0-97 km/h in 1.74 s, 0-100 km/h in 1.82 s, 402 m (quarter mile) in 8.25 s discipline 0–400–0 km/h in 29.93 s. In July, he added the record for the fastest production electric car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with a time of 49.32 s, and on 18 August he set a time of 7:05.298 the record for the fastest mass-produced electric car on the North Loop of the Nürburgring. At the end of November, another entry into the Guinness Book of Records for the record-breaking reverse followed.
A dozen not a dozen
The car features green stripes that pay homage to one of company founder Mate Rimac’s first projects, an E30 BMW 3 Series from the 1980s that received an electric conversion.
All this year’s records were broken by a car from the twelve-piece Nevera Time Attack special edition, which was presented at the Monterey Car Week event in August. The car features green stripes that pay homage to one of company founder Mate Rimac’s first projects, an E30 BMW 3 Series from the 1980s that received an electric conversion. In 2011, this machine was recognized by the International Automobile Federation FIA as the fastest accelerating electric car in the world.
The Rimac Nevera hypersport went into production last year after five years of development and testing, three generations of powertrain technology, 18 prototypes, 45 physical crash tests and more than 1.6 million hours of development. The car was originally introduced at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show as the Rimac C_Two, and later renamed.
Nevera has a battery with a capacity of 120 kWh, a range of 490 km and, with the exception of tires and brakes, is composed of 6,000 custom parts, including a traction battery with a capacity of 120 kWh, a converter and electric motors. In addition to building its own cars, Rimac produces batteries and components for other major manufacturers such as Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Hyundai and many others. After receiving a large investment from Porsche in 2021, the Rimac brand was united with Bugatti under the Bugatti Rimac banner, with Mate Rimac as CEO. Rimac Group has a 55% share, Porsche owns 45%. The Croatian company has advanced know-how regarding electric drives, batteries, power electronics and other electronic systems. It supplies, among other things, a fast charging system and other components for the Porsche Taycan.
Mate Rimac hired its first employees in 2011 and now has around 1,300 of them. Even in 2017, there was still a little soul in it and everything could have ended quickly. During the filming of the Grand Tour program, presenter Richard Hammond almost burned to death in one of the prototypes. But it turned out well, miracles do happen. Today, the whole world bows to him, and Nevera has a rich constellation of records to his credit. And quite possibly they haven’t said their last word at Rimac yet.