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Automobili Pininfarina CEO outlines lineup expansion plan

Automobili Pininfarina is looking to follow up its Battista full-electric hypercar with a range of vehicles that could include a sedan and an SUV, CEO Michael Perschke said.

The new Munich-based brand with Italian roots is currently in talks with partners to create a platform that would underpin the cars, which would cost between $220,000 and $440,000, Perschke told Automotive News Europe in a phone interview. The cars would start to arrive less than three years from now, he said.

Automobili Pininfarina is a fully owned subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, which also owns the Turin-based design house Pininfarina SpA. The $2.2 million Battista, which was revealed at the Geneva auto show in March and goes into production at the end of 2020, was designed as a limited-edition halo model that will be followed by cheaper models. 

“It’s our clear strategic intent is to become a significant player in the hypercar and super-luxury segment,” Perschke said. “We have a very clear intent to not remain a one-hit wonder.

The order that the new cars will appear will be dictated by potential customers who will be shown body style examples based on past concepts by Pininfarina. The first discussions will take place this month at the Concours d'Elegance held in Pebble Beach, Calif., where Automobili Pininfarina will display a more production-ready version of the Battista.

One example of past Pininfarina design concepts include the 2012 Cambiano sedan.

Automobili Pininfarina plans to partner with an unnamed Tier 1 supplier to develop a so-called "skateboard" electric platform for the next range of cars to cut down on investment costs. The company would also try to sell the platform to other brands to help defray the costs, Perschke said. All the cars would have battery packs of between 100 and 125 kilowatt hours to give a range of up to 600 km (372 miles).

Perschke ruled out approaching Volkswagen Group about buying the rights to use the PPE electric platform being developed by Audi and Porsche because it did not allow enough height to develop the SUV Pininfarina is planning.

The production location of the new cars hasn’t been decided yet. “Ideally we would produce in Italy, but we’ve had a lot of inquiries from other governments,” Perschke said. “The countries with stronger EV development policies are Germany, France and the UK. The Italian government is unfortunately lagging behind.”

Automobili Pininfarina has deposits or confirmed expressions of interest for almost half of the 150 Battistas planned, Perschke said. A rival to the Battista was unveiled last month in the form of the Lotus Evija, which has very similar price and power output at almost 2000 hp.

The main difference is that the Lotus uses a smaller battery pack at 70 kWh versus 120 kWh for the Battista. “We are significantly ahead of Lotus in terms of range,” Perschke said.

Lotus said it reduced the pack size to cut weight to 3,700 pounds in line with its lightweight philosophy to improve handling.

The Battista on the other hand, which uses battery and powertrain technology developed by Croatian supplier Rimac Automobili, weighs close to 4,400 pounds, Perschke said, nearer the weight of a Bugatti Chiron.

“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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