Designing Pininfarina's EV Hypercar: 'Don't Let It Look Like a Ferrari'

That was just one of the immense challenges facing the design team.

Carlo Bonzanigo, Pininfarina's design vice president, says the hardest part of the work his team did for Automobili Pininfarina—the eponymous but structurally separate Munich-based manufacturing company that commissioned the Battista's body design—was "not letting it look like a Ferrari." In any way, he specified. For the 89-year-old Torino, Italy, design house that has created the bodywork for most Ferrari road cars for the past 67 years, that had to be nearly impossible, but it seems to have accomplished the task. The client firm set out its other requirements in a four-part brief, with emphasis on luxury, a desire for cutting-edge effect, use of an unmodified existing chassis and battery pack, and a desire to establish the intrinsic value of its new brand.

Bonzanigo is an old hand, having been at Pininfarina early in his career before moving to France with PSA from 2004 to 2017. He thinks clearly, expresses himself in a thoughtful manner in impeccable English, and with degrees in design from ArtCenter and aeronautical engineering from ETHZ, a premier Swiss technical university, he is well equipped for his present role. When I commented on what seemed to be excessive cooling capacity for an electric car, he was quick to confirm that just the brakes of the Battista produce twice as much heat as most supercar engines. And there are four electric motors in this machine along with five radiators, so its configuration is, as always with Pininfarina projects, grounded in reality. The Rimac chassis, for example, is totally unchanged in this application, but the cockpit was moved a bit forward to achieve the desired effect.

Bonzanigo said a good amount of design effort was put into the deceptively simple interior to stress the aspect of luxuriousness as opposed to a sport or performance feeling. Controls are concentrated around the driver, who controls elements mounted on the steering wheel and a row of switches below the right-hand data screen. There will be only a limited number of these cars, all of them built in Pininfarina's compound in Cambiano, close to its design offices.

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