In what is possibly the biggest news of the year in the automotive industry, Bugatti and Rimac are now in cahoots to develop next-generation hypercars. The main focus will be on electrification, but the Molsheim-based marque won’t be abandoning the internal combustion engine anytime soon. Futureproofing Bugatti will be more than a simple case of rebadging the Nevera as the iconic French brand will have proprietary models rather than a reskinned Rimac.
Joint venture CEO Mate Rimac has vowed to make the first electric Bugatti a standalone product developed from the ground up: “What some people expect might happen is that we take a Nevera and slam a Bugatti logo on it and call it a Bugatti. That’s absolutely not going to happen. That’s not what we’re going to do. I’m a car guy, and while of course, we want to make a profitable company, we will not just recycle what we have.”
The first Bugatti to do away with the ICE will be introduced before the end of the decade when a separate model will use a “heavily hybridized” combustion engine. It’s unclear whether the partially electrified vehicle will retain the Chiron’s quad-turbo W16 8.0-liter powerhouse or downsize to a smaller engine.
The changes Bugatti is going through extend beyond the hybrid and EV propulsion solutions as the lineup will finally grow beyond the current single-model strategy. Mate Rimac says these new additions “are not only hypercars,” and while he didn’t disclose their identities, the Croatian entrepreneur did also mention they’ll be “different” and “very exciting.”
For the time being, Bugatti is concentrating on Chiron production to finalize the hypercar’s 500-unit run. The 300th example was assembled earlier this year, which means the company still has a long way to sell and build the remaining cars. More special editions are likely on the way to lure in wealthy customers looking for the ultimate expression of an ICE-powered car before electrification takes over.