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Start Your Engines! Talking Hypercar Simulation

Start Your Engines!

Talking Hypercar Simulation with Ivan Krajinović of Rimac Automobili

5-minute read
David Quinn - September 9th 2021


The Rimac Nevera

Dr. Ivan Krajinović is Simulations Manager at Rimac, the electric hypercar manufacturer based in Croatia. He leads the Simulation department, which is responsible for structural, electrical and thermal simulations of different components of the electric powertrain, working on major projects, like the development of the Nevera (C_TWO) electric hypercar. We discussed his upcoming keynote at the CAE in the Automotive Industry symposium, part of the NAFEMS World Congress 2021. Ivan gave us an insight into how he got started as a simulation engineer, what it's like working for one of the worlds fastest-growing automotive manufacturers, and how important NAFEMS is to the industry.

You can also watch an extended version of the chat on the NAFEMS Youtube channel, or have a listen on our Podcast.


What made you think about a career in engineering, and simulation specifically? How did you personally get to where you are today?

I'm a physicist and I studied physics here in Zagreb. After I graduated, I realized that I knew a lot about everything, but nothing in particular. So, I decided to go for a Ph.D. and somehow, I ended up doing simulations. I like the fact that you can model something and then you can measure it, and then correlate or make your model better. So, I did my PhD in numerical simulations in Austria, in Leoben, Montanuniversität and this is how I ended up doing simulations. First it was FEM and then a bit of CFD, then 1D and then they gave me a department here at Rimac to create. I’ve been running it now for three and half years and it's still going, somehow!

Rimac is a relatively young company in automotive terms, but is fast becoming a huge player in the industry - that must be exciting for you to be part of that team?

Yeah, it's a really amazing experience because one gets the opportunity to see, not only the creation of the products, but of the company from a start-up all the way to where we are now, and the transformation has been extremely fast. It's astonishing what we have done. It surprises us all, all the time. When I started, we were just finishing Concept One and now we are finishing Concept Two, Nevera, which we launched this year, and having Bugatti on board is just amazing.


You're at the pioneering edge of Electric Hypercars right now, with cars like the C_TWO taking centre stage - is there more to come from brands like Rimac in terms of performance? What’s the next big aspect of simulation that you’re working on?

The next logical step is multiphysics. We can no longer work in silos with one person doing only CFD and another person doing only FEM and so on. We have problems which are multiphysical in nature, different temperatures etc, one thing interacts with another. And so, we are really trying to combine different kinds of simulations into more complex joint models.


We know simulation plays a huge role in automotive development - how embedded is the simulation department in the whole product development process at Rimac?

We are involved from the initial talks with the customer. Talking is sometimes forgotten but it's really important to understand what the customer wants from you. We then go from initial talks to initial back of the envelope calculations, and then it’s Excel or another similar tool. This is followed by 1D, then rough FEM or rough CFD, with many fast iterations for design, all the way to the final product, which is then validated on some test bench. This is all then integrated into multiple cars. At every stage, we have to provide fast and accurate feedback. And that's the power of simulation; you don't have to produce something to test it.


Can you give us an insight into what you’ll be covering in your World Congress keynote?

I will be giving a short overview of all the different kinds of simulation that we have been doing here at Rimac not just in the simulation department that I'm running, but in other areas within the company. I will also give an insight into how things were, when we were a start-up, not that long ago!

I'll also talk more about where I see simulation here at Rimac going including the trends that we are experiencing as users and what we see happening next in the foreseeable future.

I’ll not be going much into data and showing a bunch of research and stuff like that, it’ll be more from a user perspective, and what we see as individuals here.


Obviously, over the past 18 months or so, it’s been difficult to have people together in the same place, focussing on things like simulation - are you looking forward to the Congress?

Yes, I hope to meet lots of interesting people there. I'm sure I'll do that and maybe share the stories of how we have survived Covid as an organisation involved in hybrid work.

But also, I hope to share stories of our daily work and the challenges that we are facing. I like data and I like graphs; I do excel for everything. But I think that it's much more memorable if you can tell a story of how you got where you are today, how you got to that data or what the data means to you.


And finally, Rimac are members of NAFEMS, and a big part of our community - why do you think it’s important for organisations to be members?

It's good to be part of something bigger, because you can share, as we just talked, knowledge and stories, but we also find it really useful. For example, NAFEMS publications, because they offer short condensed knowledge that is really applicable. These can be things that we know, but haven’t had the time to organise our thoughts in such a way. It’s things like that, which you get from being part of this kind of organisation, that speed up your development.

We find that a lot of the time when we are wondering, should we do it like this or like that, it often turns out that someone has already done it and it's really useful to get access to that kind of data and knowledge from NAFEMS.

We have participated in several conferences already. Every time we have learned something new and met interesting people and we hope to continue to be valuable members well into the future.

Thanks to Ivan for his time, and to the Rimac marketing department for the additional images and videos.