First it was Tesla making electric cars trendy and fashion-forward. Now an Italian company is making electric cars de rigueur. Not only de rigueur, but elegant and choice, and very, very powerful. The Pininfarina Battista, its name an homage to the founder of the Italian company, was unveiled at the Geneva Car Show to great anticipation.
Green is fast
Pininfarina, under the new management of Mahindra conglomerate, has rolled out the Battista, its newest and greenest hypercar. It is electric, which means it runs on battery power. Along with a few of its competitors, Pininfarina is betting on the luxury market to take notice. And they certainly are. Why wouldn’t they? The car is an absolute beauty.
Here’s something else in the Battista’s favor: it’s the most powerful street-legal car to be produced in Italy. When you’re competing against the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, you know the competition will be steep. Good thing the Battista has so much power – zero to 60 in less than two seconds, zero to 186 (yes, that reads 186) in less than 12.
Some more impressive stats the Battista can boast:
• Its brake horse power (bhp) is 1,900, whereas a Ford Fiesta has the equivalent of between 84 and 138
• It has a top speed of 250 mph
• It can go 280 miles on one charge of its battery
Breaking boundaries (as well as speed limits) is one thing the Battista does with ease. One of the more subtle barriers the car has busted is people’s perception of electric cars not being powerful. The car is a testament to electric propulsion and high performance, to paraphrase Automobili Pininfarina chief executive Michael Perschke. These two things need not be mutually exclusive, a message the Battista is delivering loud and clear.
The Pininfarina Battista has been highly anticipated, and the fact that the company has been able to compete against its more famous contenders has garnered sharp interest.
The company’s path as of late has taken some twists. In 2015 the Mahindra conglomerate bought a majority stake in Pininfarina, the Italian design house. Pininfarina brought expertise from years of designing for Alfa Romeo and Ferrari; Mahindra has an automotive division, and it owns a South Korean car company and a team in the Formula E racing series. The merging brought together two mighty rivers, and together they are much more powerful.
Green is beautiful
What Mahindra is hoping is that the Battista will do its part to make electric cars sleek, sexy, and elegant. And it’s working. That may have something to do with the way the car is built: it’s drop-dead gorgeous.
It’s no surprise that the Pininfarina’s designers never considered creating anything but a car that was as much a thing of beauty as it was a powerful machine. As Paolo Pininfarina, the grandson of the founder and chairperson, put it, “We are Italian, we could not compromise.”
Internal combustion systems can take up space, but the Battista’s T-shaped battery is situated behind the seats and along the center, giving designers a lot more room to play. Unlike high-performance vehicles that run on gas, cooling is not as big of an issue, and so there’s no need for the wide grille that you usually see on the front of high-performance cars. These details, although slight, make the Battista a unique thing of beauty, a collector’s item to be sure.
Green is the future
The Battista is hopefully going to be one of a series of luxury electric cars that the company is planning on putting out over the next decade. There are designs in the works for a variety of models, even an SUV, although all of them will be firmly embedded in the soft and silky luxury market.
As a comparison, this isn’t the first electric car that Pininfarina has attempted. In 2008, the company rolled out a plan for an electric car but had to shelve it due to financial constraints.
The contrast between the Battista and its forerunner are shocking: the first design promised 30 mph in five seconds, a top speed of only 85, and the battery range of 125 miles. The difference between the two is staggering.
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