The $2.1 million electric supercar Rimac Nevera has 1,914 horsepower and 1,741 pound-feet of torque.
It has four electric motors and a large, H-shaped battery powering them.
We drove one for about an hour recently. It's so fast, you can't even fully floor it on the street.
People are obsessed with leaving Earth. In film and literature, it's the only way for future generations to survive — either by virtue of climate disaster or war, but always by our own hands. In real life, it's a way for the ultrawealthy to burn cash and resources on a minutes-long joyride in orbit.
To us, space seems like the next step in technology, exploration, and wealth exhibition. But the Rimac Nevera taught me there's still a lot of that to be done on Earth.
The Nevera is a $2.1 million electric supercar from Rimac, a Croatian carmaker founded in 2009 by the now 34-year-old Mate Rimac. Rimac started out by converting gas cars to electric in his garage, and his company doesn't just create glamorous supercars — it also supplies EV technology to major automakers like Porsche, Hyundai, and Aston Martin. The Rimac Group recently entered a joint venture with Porsche to oversee luxury supercar brand Bugatti as well.
Rimac's come a long way in 13 years as a company, and the Nevera doesn't just put it one step closer to becoming mainstream. It marks our entrance into an era of multimillion-dollar supercars that don't roar to life with the gas engines, but instead sit in electric silence.
The Nevera has four electric motors — one for each wheel — that, combined, make 1,914 horsepower and 1,741 pound-feet of torque. To illustrate how shocking those numbers are, the $3 million Bugatti Chiron broke world speed records with its historically untouchable 1,600 horsepower. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, a street-legal drag racer that required buyers to sign a 15-part agreement acknowledging the risks of driving it, came with 840 horsepower.
But the Nevera isn't just more powerful numerically. Cars like the Chiron and Demon have traditional gas engines, which means their power curves build over time (think about how as you accelerate in a certain gear, your car gets louder and faster).
I first saw the Nevera on a rainy Monday morning in Austin, where it sat under a hotel awning in a coat of paint so white it almost looked blue. It has a long, aerodynamic body; ocular slits for headlights; tons of giant holes and vents to direct airflow in and around the car; and a giant, active-aero rear wing that moves around to help the Nevera perform best in the circumstances it's driving in.
The whole car is smoothed over, not sharp, like a piece of glass that got tossed in the ocean and weathered in the sand. It's beautiful.
Guests stopped to take photos in and around the Nevera while I stood to the side, feeling like I'd walked in on something I wasn't supposed to see yet — technology that's still 30 years out, and reserved for only the wealthiest of us when it does get here.
Rimac employees walked me through the basics: The Nevera's low, slinky body encases the four motors; an H-shaped battery that rests behind and between the car's two passenger seats; and a 441-pound carbon-fiber monocoque that forms a shell around the passenger compartment for crash protection.
Carbon fiber, which is typically a black and gray woven material, is known for being extremely light and strong. That's vital to fast cars, because the heavier a vehicle is in relation to its horsepower, the slower it will be.
The doors on my loaner Nevera opened upward, revealing red-and-black seats and a bright-red ceiling. There were carbon-fiber accents and Rimac logos all over.
The car has three main screens: one for the driver, one between the seats, and one in the dashboard in front of the passenger, which can display the car's rapid, real-time power output in a red font. As the driver presses the accelerator pedal closer to the floor, the numbers on the screen surge like you've won the jackpot on a slot machine.
Just above the central screen are two knobs with their own little electronic displays, which control the Nevera's drive mode and power distribution. Power distribution allows a driver to better control a car's handling: You can lower power distribution if you want a more laid-back drive, raise it if you want to go full send, or put all the power to the back wheels if you want to drift.
In my car, "comfort mode" listed the front and rear wheels as receiving about 70% of the car's available power, while "track" bumped it to 100. If you want to change that distribution from the driving mode's default at any point, you just twist the knob.
While most EVs are known for silence, the Nevera makes a metallic whine. It's a very raw sound — more like a homemade rocket ship and less like the refined, composed melodies many automakers play through the speaker systems of their otherwise quiet EVs. I didn't know if it was real, so I asked.
"Yep," a Rimac employee told me. "That's the sound of all the tiny moving parts that make the car go." The Nevera is a metropolis of technology, and metropolises aren't quiet — even if lesser EVs are.
Even though the Nevera can go from 0 to 60 mph in a mind-melting 1.85 seconds, driving it isn't scary. The car is miles more intelligent and capable than you or I will ever be, and that's shown in how it operates. Not long after I took the wheel, the Rimac representative riding with me told me to stomp the accelerator.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "It's been raining. The roads are wet."
"The car will step out a little," they said, referring to the slide a car's wheels do when they begin to lose traction. "Don't correct it. The car will redirect power to individual wheels as necessary, straightening itself out."
I stomped the accelerator, as I was told. The Nevera stepped out, just barely. I didn't correct it. It immediately redirected power on its own, gluing itself back to the ground as if nothing happened.
"See?" they said. I saw.
The thing about the Nevera is that if you want to keep your driver's license, you can't put your foot to the floor on the road. As soon as you touch the accelerator, the car's instant torque launches it forward — putting your throat in your stomach and starting a split-second timer during which you can keep pressing the pedal. Long before it hits the floor, you're doing illegal speeds.
Yet all that time, while you're bending the fabric of space like a $2.1 million black hole, the Nevera is wildly comfortable. It's not cramped or even unnaturally low to the ground; the large windows make the car feel light and airy; and the seats and suspension aren't stiff or harsh like in many other performance cars.
Even in track mode, often the stiffest and harshest drive setting of them all, the Nevera sliced through the air with virtually no wind noise, discomfort, or disruptions to the people riding in it. The Nevera feels like the future because it is the future — technology, speed, comfort, and all.
I doubt I'll ever get to experience orbit, or anything past it, in a tangible way. I was born too early for the democratization of space travel, too artistically minded to make a career of it, and too middle-class to jump on the wagon early. I'm stuck looking at the stars with my feet on the ground, like most of the rest of us.
But after driving the Nevera, I'm alright with that. It's a rocket ship, and sometimes, the coolest rocket ships aren't the ones that can take us away — they're the ones that remind us why we're here.
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