Automobili Pininfarina plans an SUV and sedan to follow Battista

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Pininfarina Battista wind tunnel testing Automobili Pininfarina

Mahindra-owned and Munich-based Automobili Pininfarina intends to expand its range to include more moderately priced SUV and sedan models after its $2.2 million Battista EV hypercar goes into production late in 2020.

Automobili Pininfarina CEO, Micheal Perschke told Automotive News Europe that the new cars would still be exclusive, priced between 200,000 and 400,000 euros ($224,000-$448,000) but that they would be produced at a much higher rate than the Battista and should arrive within three years. The spinoff of Italy’s Pininfarina SpA, also a Mahindra & Mahindra subsidiary, says that it has either confirmed interest or deposits on about half of the 150 Battistas that are planned.

Perschke indicated that the new vehicles will be full battery-electrics and that the company is having discussions with an unnamed Tier 1 supplier about jointly developing a “skateboard” platform that would flexibly underpin the new models. The idea of using a low-profile battery or fuel-cell-powered chassis that could then wear a variety of body style “top hats” has been percolating around the auto industry since at least General Motors’ AUTOnomy concept of 2002. Ford’s partner, Rivian, is developing a “skateboard” chassis for use with electric pickup trucks.

Perschke said that he wasn’t interested in licensing the PPE EV platform that the VW Group is developing for Porsche and Audi because it isn’t suitable for a high-riding SUV. Once developed, Automobili Pininfarina and its vendor partner will be offering the platform to other automakers in order to amortize costs.

Rene Wollman Sport Car Programme Director
Rene Wollman, Sports Car Programme Director Automobili Pininfarina

Few technical details about the new models were released other than they would have battery packs with capacities of 100 to 125 kilowatt hours and a very competitive range of 372 miles. The batteries and powertrain will be supplied by Croatia’s Rimac, maker of the Concept One electric hypercar and vendor to a number of high profile companies that don’t have the expertise to do all of their own EV development in-house.

Just which vehicle, sedan or SUV, will arrive first will be determined by discussions with potential customers, starting later this month at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where Automobili Pininfarina will be showing the Battista in a form closer to production. Just where the new vehicles will be manufactured will be determined by discussions with governments wielding “stronger EV development policies.” That likely translates to which country will give them the largest incentives, but Perschke pretty much ruled out Italy, which he says lags behind Germany, France, and the UK in terms of EV friendliness.

First priority, though, is getting the Battista into shape for production. When it arrives, the Battista will be going up against the recently revealed and about equally priced Lotus Evija, which uses a much smaller 70-kWh battery pack, compared to the Battista’s 120-kWh batteries. “We are significantly ahead of Lotus in terms of range,” Perschke said. The new Pininfarina hypercar needs those extra 50 kilowatt hours to get that range as it is will be about 660 [pounds] heavier than the Evija.

It is also aiming at a more comfortable driving experience than the track-focused Lotus. “We choose to be a hyper GT car,” Perschke said. “How many people take a Chiron on track? For our target audience we decided to go for range.”

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