It’s hyper, it’s Italian, and has an Indian connection. Add to the mix a German address and you have the latest entrant to the stable of supercar manufacturers in the world.
In other words, Automobili Pininfarina’s all-electric Battista - with a price tag set at an uncompromising $2 million - has been unveiled in Dubai just two months on from its Geneva debut. But those who want to pick up one have to wait until late next year to get behind the wheels.
And when they do, they can do the Dubai to Abu Dhabi route and back twice a day - on a single charge.
“There will only ever be 150 Battistas… and all will be hand-built by Pininfarina in Italy from late-2020,” said Luca Borgogno, Design Director, Automobili Pininfarina. “It will be a brand new experience for supercar owners – zero emissions and faster than a Formula 1 car.”
That’s right, the Battista has a clamed 0–100 km/h of under 2 seconds, enough to outpace a Formula 1 aspirant.
For those who are not out and out motorheads, the name Pinifarina may not strike an immediate chord. But for those who do know about cars and lineage, the name is revered as the automotive design firm that went on sketch and put together some of the most memorable Ferraris, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos ever.
Pininfarina was acquired by India’s Mahindra Group in 2015 and early last year, the latter confirmed the launch of Automobili Pininfarina with a specific mandate - go out and build zero-emission hypercars as a niche manufacturer. (The German association comes from Automobili Pininfarina choosing Munich as its headquarters.) A year down the line comes the Battista to Dubai and with an eye on the chequebooks of those who want to be among the 150 in the world to own one.
“The luxury car has been the starting point for new technologies and innovations - this is for three reasons that I can see,” said Borgogno. “Firstly, you have very strong connections with customers at this level, so have a very good idea about what new technologies and product features will interest them.
“Secondly, new technology and innovation is of course expensive at the start. So you could not introduce it into the mass market where it would make a significant impact on the price of a car.
“Thirdly, many the world’s leading innovators, who are of course successful business people, buy luxury cars and push back to the luxury car brands on what is achievable in-car. It makes this end of the car market extremely exciting and competitive.”
But can it? The likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Bugatti have got a firm grip pn that end of the market, where the buyers are not flustered about how much they need to pay. Rather the only defining elements are the “hp”, torque, and the 0-100 km/h timeline.
Sure, there are a few super-niche manufacturers such as Pagani and Koenigsegg that do compete forcefully in that space.
So, what chance does Automobili Pinifarina have in this universe? Borgogno is not harbouring any doubts as regards its prospects.
More power than petrol
“Our business model is different… and in our view better than the typical car company,” he said. “The time scales are shortened, yet quality is improved.
“Maybe you will say that is impossible, but we exist to fundamentally change the nature of luxury car development and production by collaborating with leading suppliers at all levels – production, design, technology, engineering. And our engineering team is also setting the technical programme for Battista using simulation technologies, so we can develop intensive testing immediately. “This means all of our focus is on bringing to market game-changing luxury cars in probably half the typical time of a major car company. Electrification also helps with this ambition because batteries and motors are a far more efficient technology package than an internal combustion engine in design, production and maintenance.
“Plus they produce far more power than is possible with petrol. Who would have imagined 1,900hp? That is our target for the Battista.”
“Profitability is expected to be achieved much faster than you would anticipate for a typical car company,” said Luca Borgogno, Design Director, Automobili Pininfarina. “Which is why we have significant interest from potential investors in the business.
“We are also seeing investor interest because of our stated ambition to only produce zero emission electric cars – we see that as a fundamental promise to our buyers and future generations.”
For the Battista, a 120-kWh battery providing power to four electric motors – one at each wheel – that will combine to produce a targeted 1,900 hp and 2,300 Nm torque.