Along the way to building 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025, Hyundai Motors, which includes Kia, announced that it will invest $80 million in Croatian EV startup Rimac.

Rimac is most famous for building the Rimac Concept One, known at its introduction in 2016 as the world's fastest electric car. The company built eight examples, using, it says, almost no off-the-shelf components. 

Other automakers were impressed enough to contract with Rimac to supply electric powertrain components for vehicles such as the planned Pininfarina Battista. Porsche also owns 10 percent of the company. 

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Now one of the world's largest auto groups has gotten involved and is seeking Rimac's expertise in developing more efficient and powerful electric powertrains.

In a statement announcing the investment, Hyundai said it will "leverage the partnership to build on its existing R&D capabilities to meet its electrification plan."

Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung added, "Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us."

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More immediately, the companies plan to develop prototypes of a high-performance, electric sports car with a motor and battery mounted behind the driver for Hyundai's new N performance brand, as well as a high-performance fuel-cell vehicle. Hyundai says it plans to bring both models to market "at a later time."

Of the $80 million investment $64 million will come from Hyundai, and $16 million from Kia.

Rimac hopes to use Hyundai's investment as a lever to launch it into becoming a Tier 1 supplier for major automotive companies. "We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe this collaboration will charge our position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry,” said Rimac founder and CEO Mate Rimac in a statement.

With this investment, Rimac looks to be well on its way.