When the Pininfarina Battista was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019, it was touted as the first fully-electric hypercar. Having been teased with bits and pieces up to that point, the Battista would finally secure its place in history as the first complete amalgamation of a zero-emissions hypercar.
Like the car itself, delivery of the first examples are coming in faster than you can blink, with customers told to expect their cars no later than the third quarter of 2020. Before we know it, an automobile which could revolutionize the way we travel will be taking center stage.
Rapid this all may feel, though the journey to get to this point involves a history rich in automotive milestones and has been decades in the making. The Battista represents both the legacy and future of Pininfarina.
Nearly 90 years ago, Pininfarina had relatively humble beginnings as an Italian design and engineering consultancy. The company is best known for their flourishing relationship with Ferrari, as it would end up designing more than 60 iconic sports cars over the decades, in collaboration with the Prancing Horse marque.
The 308, F40, Enzo and 458 Italia; Pininfarina has been responsible for the styling of such legendary cars – and so many more – which have come to define the Ferrari brand. Fast forward to the present day, and Pininfarina has its sights set on a new endeavour – producing a car they can call their very own.
This car is the future, unlike anything ever made before it. However, it is also still relatable to the traditionally trained palate. Its powertrain may be evolutionary, but its appearance is classically Pininfarina.
Here enters the Pininfarina Battista.
Rebirth and Evolution
Eventually, Pininfarina would succumb to tough times during the 2008 global economic recession. On the verge of bankruptcy and capitulation, the company would eventually be acquired by a new ownership entity under the direction of Anand Mahindra, known as the Mahindra Group.
Mahindra had a vision for the company which far exceeded a simple injection of capital, and more spinning of the same old wheel. Amongst many bold decisions, he would eventually create Automobili Pininfarina, a branch which operates independently from the main company – which continued on as a design and engineering consultancy – with the primary objective of producing standalone cars under the Pininfarina brand.
The financial backing of its parent company would allow Pininfarina and its divisions to procure the services of the industry’s brightest engineers, designers, and business people – arguably none more so than the new CEO of Automobili Pininfarina, Michael Perschke, who is a former Audi, Mercedes and BMW executive.
When asked about how the brand would achieve its goals as a successful automaker, Perschke noted, “We don’t need to claim that we know how to make beautiful cars. It’s just confidence that we have. You cannot buy the sort of provenance and brand heritage that is behind Pininfarina – generations of creating stunning cars with beauty, purity and rarity.”
It is quite clear by now, that the Pininfarina Battista does more than enough to back up those remarks.
I doubt that anyone would be offended – least of all, Pininfarina – if the Battista was mistaken as ‘just another’ one of Ferrari’s super cars. Afterall, the design elements are deliberately signature from the company; and that’s really the best part of it all.
Beneath the silhouette lies something less familiar – the absence a typically mid-mounted combustion engine, for one. The Ferrari…. I mean…. Pininfarina Battista is fully-electric, and beyond that very notion, things only start to get even more crazy.
The Battista utilizes 4 motors – one for each wheel – which produce a combined 1,900-horsepower and 1696 ft-lb of torque. That level of performance and technological sophistication won’t come cheap either, with each car priced at around $2.3 million USD.
The decision for Automobili Pininfarina to start producing electric cars right off the bat came relatively easy for the company, which was not tied down by a past involving the combustion engine – they could begin their journey with a clean (no pun intended) slate.
“We saw a window of opportunity here,” said Perschke. “We’re at a tipping point where EVs (electric vehicles) are becoming more acceptable, and yet we don’t have to manage a transition to being an electric car manufacturer. From the start, 100% of our vehicles will be zero-emission.”
The Pininfarina Battista will be delivered to its first customer by mid-2020, which coincides with the 90th anniversary of Pininfarina.
There’s no mistaking it; the Battista is here to make a statement on behalf of the Pininfarina brand. However, it is not going to represent the fledgling automaker on its own.
If anyone had a notion that the Pininfarina Battista would be a one-off, Perschke iterates, “…we’re not creating a company just to do one car, either. By 2023 or 2024, we will have three or four models in our range, competing with Aston Martin and Bentley.”
There are already plans to make a range of automobiles, with some models starting for as little as $110,000 USD – with “accessible and conventional” in mind, the line up will involve more than just sports cars and will showcase some versatility.
“We could look at other types of vehicles, including even a crossover or SUV. But the key is that they will all have the purity of Italian design. Electrification will help with this.” says Perschke.
At the moment the Pininfarina Battista is built on a proprietary chassis and battery layout, so there really is not anything like it in the world. However, Pininfarina is already looking to license the use of its design to other companies, which means that other automakers could create their own products based on the Pininfarina’s in-house blueprint.
While ultimately a decision aimed to profit the company and its investors, such a move would still very much provide an ‘open source’ gateway for the industry with regards to technological access, which in itself is a revolutionary idea. It’d be like the Linux of operating systems.
Engine & Performance
1,900-horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft of torque
0-60 mph in under 2 seconds
0-186 mph in under 12 seconds
Top speed: 217 mph
Pininfarina was so emboldened by its mission to create a brand entirely in its own image, that it developed its own engine instead of repurposing one from another manufacturer. Within the industry, this is not an uncommon practice which surely – due to its history and partnerships with other automakers – would not have been difficult to follow suit if Automobili Pininfarina so desired.
However, instead of slotting an Indycar V8 into a McLaren chassis, or reserving a fleet of Mercedes-AMG power plants for application in a Pagani, Pininfarina decided that the Battista should be more revolutionary in this sense. For starters, it would be all-electric. And beyond that, well, it would be so much more.
The Pininfarina Battista draws power from its four electric motors – one for each wheel, also making it AWD – which in combination, produce up to a mind-boggling 1,900-horsepower (or 1,400 kW). Thanks to its 120kWh battery (which is rated 20kWh higher than Tesla’s Model X and Model S), the car is able to generate 1,696 lb-ft of torque (the equivalent of 2,300 Nm), with Pininfarina claiming 0-60 mph is possible in less than 2 seconds. A top speed of 217 mph is what is currently theorized. The aforementioned figures by these accounts, makes it faster than a Formula 1 race car.
Range will obviously be one of the key talking points about the car, but we are still waiting on Pininfarina to release more details – such as weight and aerodynamic efficiency – which will important determining factors in measuring this. In the meantime, Pininfarina has claimed what is currently a vague figure of 280 miles (or 450 km) on a single charge which may or may not be considering things such as driving habits, or whether this is a combined (city and highway) result.
Chassis & Handling
Built around the shape of its T-shaped Rimac battery pack design, the Pininfarina Battista has its central structure and bodywork made of carbon fibre, with aluminum reinforcements used for the crash beams and battery mounts. The overall chassis design has ensured an ideal weight distribution and center of gravity worthy of its hypercar profile, with the battery pack sitting low and near the centre of the car.
Specifically, the battery is located in the center tunnel and not under the floor unlike other EVs. Its position behind the seats also allows a low, sporty seating position and with the intention of giving the Battista the dynamics and feel of a mid-rear engine supercar.
Further bolstering its hyper performance appeal, are the Battista’s 21-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires. Carbon ceramic rotors mated to 6-piston calipers on all four corners will be tasked with braking duties, which will also be a source of regenerating battery power, as is the standard feature with EVs.
In spite of all of its mechanical prowess, the car’s specifications indicate that it would still be absolute mayhem to drive without a proper electronics system tempering its otherwise unbridled power. At the forefront of tethering its performance in an optimal, yet safe fashion, are five driving modes – with various stages of traction and stability control – and a dynamic torque-vectoring system for each of the four driving motors. Altogether, the computer system is designed such that 1,900-horsepower should not be as overbearing as one might be initially inclined to believe.
Design, Styling & Interior
“Above all, it must be beautiful”. This is coming from a company that has been responsible for designing almost all of Ferrari’s road cars over the last-half, which also ended up being some of the most beautiful of all time.
Automobili Pininfarina incorporated many things from the Ferrari drawing board when it comes to the Pininfarina Battista, and this neither a bad thing nor redundant in the least bit. While its design elements certainly scream out the likes of “Italian, mid-engine and supercar”, the car is ultimately unique.
“We are designers, we are Italian. We could not compromise on the car’s beauty. Also, as we are designers, we are not tied to any particular powertrain like Ferrari or Lamborghini. So we could approach the design as a new frontier,” furthering iterating the fluid philosophy behind the design.
The result is a stunning silhouette which provides futuristic features mixed in with the classic cues that have defined the Pininfarina name. At the front, Ferrari-esque headlights linked together by a light strip canvassing across the front hood, form the face of the Battista.
Along the side of the car are the sensually sweeping curves which are a signature from Pininfarina designers, while a ‘floating’ active rear-wing provides the finishing touch to its exotic proportions. More on the wing – it’s fixed at lower speeds, but will raise itself above the body at higher speeds to provide downforce at and also act as an air brake.
In an overall sense, aerodynamics in general have played a huge role in the end product. This starts with air being channeled through the front fascia, into a slat that runs between the headlights, then efficiently through the underbody of the car. The car has been designed with both function and form in mind, with an efficiency at hypercar levels expected to trounce just about any EV (or any other hypercar, for that matter) that’s out there.
Details on the interior suggest an aesthetically sharp and driver-focused layout, with dual screens on either side of the steering wheel being one of its noteworthy features. Unlike so many of the other hypercars on the market, the Pininfarina Battista is ripe with amenities aimed at providing comfort and convenience for both driver and passenger. For starters, the Battista comes equipped standard with air conditioning and an infotainment system (thoughtfully installed with future-proof software). Quilted seats are featured in favour of the relatively more spartan Alcantara lined racing buckets, often used by the other players. We also know that a variety of trim options will be available to choose from.
Pininfarina has committed to producing no more than 150 examples of the Battista. Additionally, this production allotment will be distributed equally among Europe, North America, and the rest of the world – so, 50 for each of the 3 regions.
According to Perschke, interest in the U.S. has been particularly high with the Automobili Pininfarina CEO revealing, “We have a good 30-plus down payments in the bank. In the U.S., more than 65 percent of the cars we intend to deliver are already allocated and reserved by clients.”
Even though it is priced between $2 million to $2.5 million USD, cost was still likely never going to be an issue for a sell-out. Low production numbers combined with the allure of purchasing a potentially game-changing piece of technology, was always going to be a draw for the world’s most affluent automotive enthusiasts who like to be the first adopters of anything that generates this level of fanfare.
Technical Specifications Summary
All data shown are target estimations and subject to confirmation by manufacturer.
Under 2.0 secs.
Acceleration 0-300 km/h
Under 12.0 secs.
Up to 1,900 hp (1,400 kW)
Up to 2,300 Nm
Over 350 km/h
All-wheel-drive with torque vectoring function
5 different drive modes
Carbon-ceramic 6-piston front and rear, 390 mm
front / 390 mm rear
Pirelli Tyre SpA
Bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyre (mounted on a
21-inch rim in an exclusive new design for the Battista show cars)
Full-carbon fibre monocoque with carbon fibre body panels Aluminium
(GENEVA – 20:30 CET, 04 MARCH 2019) A revolution in automotive performance, design and technical collaboration is revealed with the Pininfarina Battista, the world’s first luxury electric hyper performance GT. Delivering on a long-held Pininfarina family dream and a new target of zero emissions with extreme power, the Battista is the first solely Pininfarina-badged car and delivers unprecedented performance. The trio of beautiful Battista design models presented as part of the hypercar’s World Premiere in Geneva represent a new pinnacle of desirability for electric cars, stylishly resolving the paradox of beauty and performance in a pure, elegant and timeless Italian design.
When it arrives in 2020, the Battista will be the most powerful car ever designed and built in Italy and it will deliver a level of performance that is unachievable today in any road-legal sports car featuring internal combustion engine technology. Faster than a current Formula 1 race car in its 0 -100 km/h sub-two second sprint, and with 1,900 hp and 2,300 Nm torque on tap, the Battista will combine extreme engineering and technology in a zero emissions package.
The year 2020 is also the 90th anniversary of the legendary Pininfarina SpA design house, which has taken the design brief for the Battista and produced a classic Pininfarina: an elegant form that seamlessly integrates the car’s innovative engineering solutions to deliver unprecedented performance. It is the same design principle of form and function in harmony as seen in classic Pininfarina cars reaching back to the Cisitalia 202 of 1947 and through more than 100 Ferraris, the most recent of which was launched this decade.
The Pininfarina Battista’s place in automotive history is defined by its name. It is the first in a range of purely electric, zero-emissions, luxury cars solely branded Pininfarina, delivering on a long-held family dream that has been carried by founder, Battista, his son Sergio, and his grandson, the current Pininfarina SpA Chairman, Paolo.
Never before has a new brand and its first car been launched with such an emotive past, relevance for the present, and potential for the future – the Battista embodies timeless design as a piece of art.
Automobili Pininfarina CEO, Michael Perschke: “This is the most authentic and exciting automotive story imaginable. The Battista is the hypercar of the future, inspired by a legendary past. It combines true inspiration and innovation in its technical achievement and emotional appeal. Electrification unlocks the door to a new level of performance and a zero-emissions future, whilst a passion and respect for automotive history will define how this landmark car looks and feels. We aim for the Battista to be a future classic and automotive icon, writing its own page in automotive history books.”
The ingredients for success reach further than statistics and history. A group of automotive experts, the like of which have never been assembled before for the launch of a new car company, are working for Automobili Pininfarina and partnering with Pininfarina SpA and an enviable list of technology specialists headed by the likes of Rimac and Pirelli. The result is that the Battista will arrive next year having been developed through the expertise and inspiration of a team that have been integral to the launches of cars such as the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, Ferrari Sergio, Lamborghini Urus, McLaren P1, Mercedes AMG-Project One, Pagani Zonda and Porsche Mission E.
The resulting hypercar will appeal to the world’s automotive connoisseurs from a technical and aesthetic standpoint, and also because of its rarity. No more than 150 Battistas will be hand-crafted in Italy and allocated equally between the regions of North America, Europe and Middle East/Asia. Exceptional customer service will be delivered through some of the world’s best luxury car retail specialists, from Los Angeles to London to Tokyo. Plans are in place for the opportunity to fully personalise each car at Pininfarina SpA’s Cambiano headquarters.
The Battista will set new standards in performance and desirability for an electric car. It will be the first poster car for the EV-generation and the halo model for a range of luxury electric cars from Automobili Pininfarina. It is more than simply a new car reveal, but a pivotal moment in time for the new automotive environment: the first zero-emissions, Italian luxury car.