I spent a few days last week close to the heart and soul of Tesla.
Based in Sveta Nedelja - just outside Zagreb, Croatia - Rimac Automobili is just a couple of hundred Km from the birthplace of the great man. Like many who now work in around electric vehicles in that part of the world - he attended Graz University of Technology, and like all of us in the world of EV's - we owe a massive debt of gratitude to Tesla's invention and inspiration.
The reason I was in town was to wrap up an agreement to represent the business as Brand Ambassador - an announcement I was proud to make at the weekend and I'm very grateful for the many positive comments in response.
Before I summarise my thoughts and impressions from my visit, please allow me a moments indulgence...
My Father once asked me what I did for a living. After a long winded explanation - which he kindly listened to intently - his conclusion was that his mildly manic middle son earned his daily bread simply by...talking.
My Father was a craftsman and he made his living making things.
That brief moment many years ago intuitively pointed me towards people who made things. Engineers, Designers, Technicians, Architects, Clay Modellers etc
My truly great fortune has been to spend much of my working life in the company of these hard working talented people. People who make things.
They are certainly making things in Sveta Nedelja...
You may recall I wrote about Rimac back in February. Since that time I met up with Mate, Marko, and Monika at a few of the FIA Formula E Races this year. More importantly perhaps I also said hello to Customer No.1 - Mr Paul Runge. ( seen here outside the factory ) He had kindly agreed to let me show a video clip of a few moments he spent in the Rimac Concept_One. He has patiently and passionately shared the product development journey with the team - and will soon get a personally crafted car like no other.
I now know what he knows!
As impressive as the product is, it was very revealing to accompany Monika on a 1-2-1 factory Tour and meet many of the talented young people creating leading edge electric vehicle capabilities - both for the business and external clients.
I could see in the faces and hear in their voices a passion and ambition to make a difference. As a typical Englishman I am inevitably drawn to the 'underdog' - and whilst modern Croatia is perhaps not as well known as Silicon Valley, Bavaria's Best, or the UK's 'Formula 1 Heartland' - I see in the Rimac Team a 21st Century Grand Plan.
I feel honoured to have been taken into confidence with the scope of work the business is engaged in, and this has only served to confirm my belief that they are truly making things happen - for themselves and others across the EV space.
If you happen to be a Motorsport fan you'll have no doubt seen the car around all of the FIA Formula E Races in Season 1 - it also featured in the spectacular Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2015 piloted by legendary racer Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima - seen here with Mate Rimac.
So - should you want to see for yourself there is always the option of arranging a factory tour - if you love EV's be assured - you won't be disappointed.
For sure, there is plenty of matching substance to the swagger and style of their supercar - and much, much more to come. Oh how I would have loved to have taken my dear departed Father with me...
He could have seen how I'm trying to match my words up with people making things...