Earlier this month, Automobili Pininfarina, an Italian brand headquartered in Munich, with a design studio in Turin, unveiled its luxury electric hypercar called the Battista at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
Mahindra Group, the Indian automobile giant, owns Automobili Pininfarina.
The Battista runs on a T-shaped lithium/manganese/nickel liquid-cooled 120 kWh battery pack with zero emissions, and experts have touted it to be faster than a current Formula 1 car.
Yes, this an electric car which is faster than a Formula 1 car which guzzles up to 105 kg of fuel per race.
“This electric car can go from 0-100 kmph in under two seconds, 0-300 kmph in less than 12 seconds, and hit a top speed of 350 kmph. This electric hypercar runs on 1900 horses and generates 2300 Nm of torque. Besides speed and acceleration, there is the benefit of zero emissions and on a single charge, it can run up to 450 km,” says Automobili Pininfarina CEO Michael Perschke, speaking to The Better India.
What inspired Automobili Pininfarina to design and construct the world’s fastest electric supercar?
“Our main inspiration was to make the best car in the world. The Battista has the same design principle of form and function in harmony as seen in classic Pininfarina cars reaching back to the Cisitalia 202 of 1947, which was probably the first modern sports car, and through more than 100 Ferraris, the most recent of which was launched this decade. Thirty years from now, people will look back and ask about the car that paved the way for EV hypercars, and the Battista will be mentioned,” says Perschke.
What were some of the major design challenges that the makers underwent?
“I wouldn’t say challenges, but before you start designing a vehicle with such an amazing EV architecture, you need to design the car around some key electrical components like how you want to integrate the battery pack in it,” says Perschke.
Speaking to the press, another senior executive said that the battery pack’s weight distribution is configured to optimise the car’s dynamics.
“Four motors, one per wheel, mean torque vectoring becomes a key performance parameter, as it independently distributes torque and power to each wheel allowing for extreme dynamic opportunities,” he added.
In an attempt to limit the weight of the car to 2,000 kg and compensate for the battery weight, which is on the higher side considering this is a hypercar, designers have extensively employed lightweight materials.
The Battista will have a full carbon-fibre monocoque, which is extremely rigid, and a structural design no race car has ever employed. Besides a carbon roof, it also contains a carbon-fibre battery pack and a rear carbon subframe, according to the makers.
Speaking to the press, Luca Borgogno, the lead designer on this hypercar said, “The Battista interior reflects our PURA (pure) design philosophy. It is aesthetically pure but also shapes how the driver interacts with the car – it’s intuitive, with minimal buttons and switches. It is an example of design influencing behaviour for the driver’s benefit without the driver even realizing.”
An example of this feature is the presence of two screens on either side of a compact steering wheel that is angled towards the driver. There are none of the multiple conventional dials, and all information pertaining to the car is present in a small additional slim screen in front of the driver.
While Automobili Pininfarina offered its automotive design prowess, what Mahindra offered was its growing expertise in the electric vehicle segment.
As one of ten founding teams and the only Indian team to compete in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, it has through the years developed a keen understanding of what is undoubtedly the future of automobile industry in India.
“The world premiere of the Battista hypercar was a pivotal moment in the evolution of performance cars driven by EV technology. Our Race-to-Road” technology transfer played a significant role in the development of the car – one of the key reasons for our entry into Formula E, and our involvement in the championship since its inception has built up our knowledge of electric powertrain technologies and systems management. This, in turn, benefited in the development of the Battista,” says Dilbagh Gill, CEO and Team Principal, Mahindra Racing, speaking to The Better India.
“Key engineering challenges such as power storage and delivery, cooling and software systems controls have been fine-tuned on the Mahindra Racing cars as the Formula E series has developed significantly since its first race in 2014. This fast-paced technological development has and will continue to help fast-track the Battista’s testing and development cycle,” he added.
Well, can we one day expect such electric vehicles to dominate the Formula 1 scene?
“Why should we wait for Formula 1 to embark on this when we already have a Formula E race circuit for it? Formula E can one day be developed potentially into the new Formula 1,” argues Perschke.
Slated for release into the commercial market in late 2020, Automobili Pininfarina told the media “no more than 150 will ever be built, all delivered to their owners through a global network of the world’s most respected luxury and performance car retailers,” across North America, Europe, and Asia. Priced at €2 million (excluding taxes), this is a luxury car that only the super-rich can afford for the time being.
Beyond the price tag, however, what really stands out is the engineering and design of this electric hypercar, which could have a much larger ramification on the EV industry as a whole.
The future is here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)