Would Bugatti’s Founder Have Wanted the Company to Go Electric?
The Rimac Neverra electric supercar made headlines by setting 23 speed records in a single day. Many of the records it broke belonged to the Bugatti Chiron. So would Ettore Bugatti, the company’s founder, have wanted its next supercar to be electric?
Bugatti has been pioneering new technology for 100 years
Would you believe that NASCAR has finally caught up to the racecars Bugatti built…in the 1920s? That’s right, USA’s Cup Cars are just now implementing technology that Bugatti pioneered a century ago.
Ettore Bugatti was an early proponent of building powerful race cars that were also lightweight. To this end he patented early aluminum alloy rims and alloy body panels. For the 2022 season, NASCAR finally tossed its old steel rims and body panels for lightweight units.
Early Bugattis were also some of the better-balanced Grand Prix cars around. By the 1930s, Bugatti began to search for ways to better balance the ubiquitous front-engine, front transmission, RWD powertrain’s weight across the car. He introduced an early transaxle, a transmission built into the rear axle. This is another technology that NASCAR adopted for 2022.
The latest Bugatti, the Chiron, continues to pioneer cutting-edge technologies. But its AWD and carbon fiber body are still not advanced enough for it to keep up with the current Rimac.
“If there’s any comparison, it ceases to be a Bugatti”
Ettore Bugatti was born in Italy. He was an artist by trade, but chose to design high-end race cars. His self-named company was headquartered in Mosheim, France. In the 1910s, he developed some of the world’s lightest race cars and began winning Grand Prix races (the precursor to Formula 1) around the world.
One of Ettore’s most famous quotes was, “If there’s any comparison, it ceases to be a Bugatti.” As he began to sell grand tourer luxury cars built around his race-winning engines, he refused to compromise performance. His philosophy ensured that no other car could compare and enabled him to set one of the highest price points in the business.
Like the Bugattis of yesteryear, the Chiron makes unprecedented power while maintaining supercar handling. It even broke the record for the highest top speed of any production car. Add in its uncompromisingly luxurious build-quality, and there’s really no comparison—until the Rimac.
There’s only one problem with Bugatti going electric to compete with the Rimac: Bugatti and Rimac merged in 2022. So what does the future hold for Bugatti?
Ettore might have preferred Bugatti build race cars
If Ettore Bugatti were to start a company in 2023, he would begin by building some of the world’s fastest race cars. He would likely try to sell them to privateer racing teams competing at the highest level. After some Formula 1 wins and some profit, he might try to field a factory racing team. Once Bugatti had truly built a name for itself, it might move into high-end luxury cars.
One reason Bugatti experienced so much success a century ago was its pioneering philosophy of building lightweight race cars. Could Rimac-Bugatti be planning a line of hybrid or electric race cars? This return to Bugattis roots would make Ettore proud.
This is a distinct possibility. But there would not be much reason for Rimac to merge with Bugatti to pull off this plan. There’s also a chance Bugatti will remain the automaker’s luxury internal combustion line while all its electric cars are Rimacs. We’ll just have to wait and find out.
Next, find out about the Bugatti race car poised to take on Le Mans.