1,900-horsepower, 217 mph electric hypercar breaks new ground for electric cars
One of the stars of this year's Geneva International Motor Show is without doubt the Battista, by Automobile Pininfarina.
You may recognize the Pininfarina name, for it is shared by the legendary Italian design house responsible for drawing much of Ferrari's back catalogue, from the 1960s up to the present decade.
But the Battista, named after the founder of Pininfarina, is the first car to come from a new division within the company, called Automobile Pininfarina. After decades of designing lust-worthy cars for everyone else, it's time for Pininfarina to go its own way.
And what a first impression the Battista is. All-electric, with a 120kWh battery pack and a motor powering each wheel, the car has the electrical equivalent of 1,900 horsepower - a monstrous figure by any standards - and 2,300 Newton meters of torque. That latter figure is 1,400 more than the McLaren P1, a hybrid hypercar which still feels like it comes from the top of the automotive food chain.
All this means a 0-62mph (100 km/h) time of less than two seconds and a top speed of 217 mph. Even more impressively, Automobile Pininfarina says the Battista can accelerate from zero to 186 mph (300 km/h) un under 12 seconds, and the range - if you're careful with your right foot - is a claimed 280 miles.
The Battista is expected to cost from around $2.5 millionGearBrain
But instead of gunning for outright speed, the company says it wants to offer the ultimate in automotive luxury and personalization. Of the 150 examples intended to be built, Pininfarina hopes every one will be different, thanks to near-limitless customization offers to buyers. The price, if you should be interested, is thought to be around $2.5 million, before you start with the options list.
Fifty examples are available to the US market, with 50 for sale in Europe and 50 spread across Asia and the Middle East.
Pininfarina describes the Battista as a "guilt-free hypercar" and claims the electric, zero-emissions platform has lured in buyers who would never have previously considered such a car. The company's head of design, Luca Borgogno, told GearBrain at a private viewing of the car, that Battista buyers include Toyota Prius drivers, and environmentally conscious Silicon Valley billionaires who are new to the supercar scene.
The Battista is compatible with the Electrify America high-speed charging network being built across the US, and the Ionity network in Europe, but the company believes most buyers will charge at home. From there, the company suggests long-range driving for business meetings and weekends away, as much as the occasional visit to a race track.
On that note, Automobile Pininfarina has hired ex-Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld as its test driver. One of his key roles was to give the Battista 'feel' and a recognizable character - something which traditional supercars with V8 and V12 engines have oozing from every pore, but which quiet, clinical and smooth electric cars can lack.
To fix this, Pininfarina is relying on torque vectoring - the process of shuffling power around the four motors to aid traction. The company claims the car will have a character and driving dynamic all of its own, and one which it will share with the three or four future cars Pininfarina has in the pipeline.
In addition to this, the company is working hard to give the Battista a soundtrack top match the performance. Electric cars can sound sterile - anyone who has driven a Tesla will know about the sci-fi whine from the motors - which isn't something buyers of $2.5 million hypercars generally look for. Although keeping its cards close to its chest for now, Pininfarina says the Battista will have an evocative soundtrack, but without resorting to playing artificial sounds effects - every sound the driver hears will made mechanically by the car, but tuned to boost enjoyment.
Inside, the car features two touch screen displays positioned right in front of the driver, and in such a way that they can be reached with an outstretched finger - no need to take your hands off the steering wheel. These displays are joined by physical buttons for media volume and the gearbox, as Pininfarina felt it was important to offer a balance between touch controls and tactile buttons and knobs.
The cars shown at Geneva this week are fully representative of what customer vehicles will look like, Pininfarina says, and the first deliveries will begin in 2020.