Coachbuilder preps factory for upcoming EV

2004 Pininfarina Nido Concept

It's been a while since a vehicle was sold in the United States under the Pininfarina nameplate, but a new EV project may change that.; The Italian design house/ coachbuilder recently set aside space at its San Giornum, Italy plant to produce diminutive electric city cars for both European and North American markets.

Although commonly associated with some of the most stylish sports car designs (we'll forgive the Cadillac Allante), Pininfarina's no stranger to the idea of a small car.; Several concepts, including the 2004 Nido (shown above), have flirted with the idea of providing commuters a space- and energy-efficient runabout.

There's no doubt the stylists in Cambiano know the best ways to optimize a tiny interior, but they're leaving the mechanicals to the French Bollore consortium.; Specializing in developing battery and superconductor technologies, Bollore flirted with small EVs in 2006 with its Blue Car concept displayed in Geneva.; Although the firm promised to build small numbers, the program - developed with help from Renault - never materialized.

Developed over the past 15 years, Bollore's battery technology uses lithium-ion materials, but layers the conductors and electrolyte in thin films.; For the Pininfarina car, Bollore says a full recharge takes close to five hours, but a 25-minute quick cycle can give users a 25 kilometer (15 mile) jump.

Development costs for the new car - a four seat vehicle with a 250 kilometer (150 mile) range - and its launch program are estimated at nearly 150 million euros, split evenly between Pininfarina and Bollore.; The car itself should carry a price tag of 15,000 euros ($23,000 U.S. dollars).; That figure doesn't include batteries, which are to be leased to the customer.

More information - and our first look - at the car will come at the Paris motor show this fall, but production is more than a year off.; Pininfarina expects prototypes to be built in the fourth quarter of 2009, with limited production beginning in September 2010.

Source: Automotive News

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