Pininfarina names 1900bhp electric hypercar ‘Battista’

by Hilton Holloway, Autocar UK 11 Dec 2018


Automobili Pininfarina has released new images of its upcoming electric hypercar, now officially called Battista, and claimed that the 1900bhp EV will be capable of over 250mph (402kph).

Originally codenamed the PF0, the hypercar has been named after Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who founded the Italian design house in 1930. It's now run by Battista's grandson Paolo, who said it was a "dream come true" to launch such a car as a tribute. "My grandfather always had the vision that one day there would be a stand-alone range of Pininfarina-branded cars", he continued.

With 'twice the output of a Formula 1 car', the Battista is set to be able to hit 62mph (100kph) in less than 2.0sec and 186mph (300kph) in less than 12.0sec. Automobili Pininfarina is referring to the model as "the most powerful Italian performance car ever".

Michael Perschke, an ex-BMW and Audi boss and now Automobili Pininfarina’s CEO, says the Battista’s range will be at least 450km and the company will be looking at providing a charging system that can replenish the battery to 80% in just 40 minutes or even less. 

While Automobili Pininfarina’s head office is located in Munich, Germany, the Battista will be 'handmade in Italy' at the company facility on the outskirts of Turin. It's planned to go on sale in autumn 2020, priced between $2-2.5 million (Rs 14 crore to Rs 17 crore).

The car is built around a carbonfibre monocoque with the battery packs located both between the front seats and behind the rear bulkhead. Autocar understands that much of the battery and electric drive technology is being adapted from the Croatian company Rimac Automobili, which is 10% owned by Porsche Engineering Group.

Sources also hinted that the final car will utilise brand-name equipment, such as braking systems and seats, from well-established high-end component makers.

The business plan is for Automobili Pininfarina to produce the car ‘asset light’, leveraging existing technology and using technology partnerships rather than sinking huge sums into proprietary technology. Most of the company’s efforts will go into interior and exterior design and fit and finish.

Turning such potentially fearsome performance into something useable in a road-legal car is the responsibility of ex-Formula 1 and Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld competed in 183 F1 races over 11 years with six different teams and will be the main development driver for the Battista.

Just 150 Battistas will be produced. Of the 50 cars allocated to the North American market, many have already been reserved after a mock-up was shown to potential buyers. Another 50 will be allocated to the European markets and 50 will be shared between the Middle East and Far East markets.

A classic two-seat supercar with a long rear deck and short nose, Pininfarina insiders accept some aspects of the car’s design are reminiscent of Ferrari - particularly around the main cabin area - but say that is to be accepted considering how closely Pininfarina’s design arm works with the Maranello brand.

However, Luca Borgogno, design boss at the Automobili Pininfarina division, says the Battista also marks the debut of a new design language, dubbed Pura, which will place an emphasis on elegance and simplicity, in reaction to the aggressively modernist aesthetic that currently holds sway in the supercar market.

Although the Battista has five radiators, the cooling capacity needed for an EV would appear to be less onerous than for a combustion-engined hypercar, which means the exterior isn't dominated by large grilles and intakes. The main intakes - situated in front of the rear wheels - have been impressively well hidden as part of the styling.

The full-size model seen by Autocar also had twin active rear spoilers, which can also act as an air brake, but these will be modified to act as single unit on the production car. Active aerodynamics also extend to the car’s nose, with whole of the upper section of the nose cone acting as a spoiler that can lift up. Along with a completely flat underbody, the Battista has an adjustable diffuser under the rear of the car.

An interior mock-up showed a cabin dominated by two screens mounted high up on each side of the steering wheel, directly in the driver’s view.

The Battista is likely to be the first of a number of cars from the new Automobili Pininfarina brand, which was launched after Anand Mahindra, owner of the Indian Mahindra group, bought more than 70% of parent Pininfarina SpA. Sources say that the Battista is intended to boost the Pininfarina badge as a stand-alone marque and that the company has already mapped out a three-stage production plan.

The Battista be only the second series-produced car to wear the Pininfarina badge. The first was the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider which was sold as Pininfarina-badged model between 1983 and 1985, its final two years of production.

Previously released sketches have previewed the car's all-carbonfibre design from the rear and interior, showing a minimalist and driver-focused layout for the two-seater. A video (below) shows Paolo Pininfarina describing the car's long-awaited launch as part of "an American dream".

 

SUVs TO FOLLOW
Previously referred to as Project Montana, Automobili Pininfarina will follow its top model (which was previewed by the H2 Speed, pictured below) with three SUVs that are all set to arrive within five years.

The biggest, codenamed PF-One, will be a high-performance answer to the Lamborghini Urus. The other two will be rivals to the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan respectively. All will use their own version of the same modular underpinnings.

The fastest SUV will offer around 940bhp from a battery pack of about 140kWh, enabling a 0-62mph time of less than 3.0sec. Its smaller SUV siblings are likely to use lower-output versions of the same powertrain but their performance will still be at the sharp end of their segments.

An insider told Autocar UK: “Pininfarina has always made very special cars, but usually for other people. When we have sold cars ourselves, like the Pininfarina Sergio [of which six were built in 2015 and sold for a reputed $3m (Rs 21 crore) each], we have always done very well. It is not difficult to see what the next step should be. The cars will be exclusive and very beautiful.”

A source said that the Pininfarina car brand will be given an initial investment of $100 million (Rs 2,572 crore) from Mahindra to fund the creation of its model range.

Mahindra intends to invest a total of about £358 million (Rs 3,231 crore) into Automobili Pininfarina over five years. The new brand will work independently of its parent’s EV division, Mahindra Electric, with operations based in Europe.

FROM DESIGN HOUSE TO MANUFACTURER
Pininfarina's new car brand comes after Paolo Pininfarina said at the 2018 Geneva motor show that he hoped the dream of his grandfather, company founder Battista Farina, to build cars would “come true in the not-distant future”.

“Establishing Automobili Pininfarina as a leading sustainable luxury brand is our strategic vision and will be a dream come true," Perschke said. "It will combine 88 years of iconic design heritage with leading-edge electric vehicle competence of the Mahindra group and Mahindra Formula E racing. It’s a powerful combination."

Perschke has more than 25 years of industry experience, and is joined at the helm by chief operating officer Per Svantesson, who has previously worked at Volvo.

Speaking to Autocar, he said the company was embracing the challenge of creating Pininfarina’s first production car: “We’re aiming to do something new and modern, without losing the DNA of the company of doing timeless designs. Look at the Cisitalia: it’s 71 years old.

“We want to make sure that years from now, people will look at the car and say: 'Wow, it’s beautiful.' That this the kind of design that will hold its timelessness in 30-50 years.”