Just before his untimely death, Pininfarina CEO Andrea Pininfarina was reportedly hard at work in finalizing his company's first production electric vehicle. Dedicated in his honor, that car - the 2009 Pininfarina B0 - was publically unveiled at this week's Paris motor show.
Built in partnership with French battery firm Bollare, the B0 may look vaguely familiar. In fact, much of its exterior styling is borrowed from the Nara, an EV concept Pininfarina showed at the 2004 Paris show.
In the transition from concept to reality, some changes occured. Though designers saw fit to add two more doors - granting the hatchback a maximum capacity of four - perhaps the most noticeable feature of the production-intent B0 are its solar cells. Placed not only across the city car's entire roof but also its front fascia, the cells actually serve to recharge the car's battery pack.
That pack comes courtesy of Bollare, which has toiled away on its own battery design for the past fifteen years. Like most other contemporary EV batteries, Bollore's are lithium-ion cells, but are constructed in a different manner. Rather than sandwiching thick conductors and electrolyte, Bollare's battery uses thin films, allowing a smaller battery. Despite the battery's size, Pininfarina says the B0 has a range of approximately 153 miles, a recharge time of only a few hours, and a top-end of 80 mph.
Pininfarina excitedly insists the B0 is a production-ready vehicle, not a concept - plans to put the EV into limited production by the fall of 2009 seem to indicate they're serious. Though we've not heard official pricing, early reports suggested the B0 should cost approximately $23,000 - though that figure doesn't include the cost of leasing the lithium-ion battery packs.