The new PFO hypercar from Automobilia Pininfarina, a joint venture between the famous design house and Indian automotive giant Mahindra, is to be shown to prospective owners during Monterey Car Week, 22-26 August – and these latest pictures give the best idea so far of what they'll be seeing.
The company plans to launch the all-electric hypercar in 2020 – the 90th anniversary of Pininfarina. It's expected to achieve 0-62mph in under 2 seconds, 0-186mph (300km/h) in under 12 seconds and will have a top speed of 250mph. Crucially it will also have a 310 mile (500km) range. No more than 190 will be made.
Power and weight figures haven't been confirmed but unofficially there is talk of up to 2000bhp and under 2000kg. It will be four-wheel-drive, with an electric motor at each wheel, and the batteries located mostly in the central tunnel, rather than under the floor, which would compromise the height of the car.
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'Numerous design icons from Pininfarina’s incredible history have won awards at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, so I am excited to present a future Pininfarina classic to prospective owners in close proximity to this famous event', says Michael Perschke, Automobili Pininfarina CEO.
'Our presence in Monterey is an inspiring chapter in the story of realising Battista Farina’s long-held dream: one day there will be beautiful cars solely branded Pininfarina. These special VIP previews mean that future PF0 owners, most of whom will undoubtedly own numerous modern and historic classics, have an opportunity right now to be part of the birth of the company and their hypercar.'
Design director Luca Borgogno adds: 'Our objective with the exterior of PF0 is to design timeless beauty in every aspect, and the interior is equally important. Pininfarina’s design values of elegance and simplicity present us with a fantastic opportunity to stand out from the styling of most current sports and hypercars.
'Our guests in Pebble Beach have huge affinity for Italian sports cars. I am certain they will value our commitment to ensure PF0 is designed and hand-crafted in Turin. It is the birthplace of some of the most revered sports and luxury cars ever created.'
Automobili Pininfarina acknowledges that there will be 'technical partnerships' involved but hasn't confirmed which companies they will be. However, it's clear that the main partnership will be with Rimac, the Croation company that unveiled its 1914bhp electric hypercar at the 2018 Geneva motor show. Mahindra is also a market leader in electric vehicles, with a history that goes back to 1945.
The new car will be badged as Automobili Pininfarina, which the company is referring to as 'the world's newest sustainable luxury car brand'.
‘Branding is always about stories and history,’ said Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, alongside Paolo Pininfarina, chairman of Pininfarina SpA at the press conference. ‘And for Pininfarina it’s a story that isn’t finished. (The picture below shows, from left, Pininfarina CEO Michael Perschke, Anand Mahindra, Paolo Pininfarina and Mahindra MD Dr Pawan Goenka.)
‘The story is about Paulo’s grandfather Battista [founder of Pininfarina],' continues Anand, 'who built the most beautiful cars in the world but always wanted a car named Pininfarina. We want to help finish that story.’
‘Pininfarina stands for timeless beauty,’ added Michael Perschke. ‘What can be better than 88 years of design history with five years of racing technology in Formula E. What can be better than leading a start-up with 88 years of history!’
Pininfarina’s history starts with Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who broke away from his company’s coachbuilding company Stablimenti Farina, and founded the new company in 1928, though it wasn’t officially formed into a corporation until 1930.
It became the first coachbuilder to build monocoque bodies, working with Lancia, and later became best known for its design collaborations with Ferrari – the majority of Ferraris, including 250 GT, 275 GTB, 308 GTB, 288 GTO, F40, 456, F355, F50 and 360, were Pininfarina designs until the 2014 California T, after which Ferrari took its design in-house.
In 1961, Battista Farina, then aged 68, handed over the running of the company to son Sergio. In the same year the family name was officially changed to Pininfarina, a change authorised by the president of Italy.
Sergio saw the company through continued expansion into volume manufacturing, bringing in state of the art production facilities and wind tunnel. His son Andrea took over in 2001 but by then the manufacturing business was in decline, with most major manufacturers having taken assembly in-house.
Andrea died in a motorcycle accident in 2008. The company was already struggling by that point, and when younger brother Paolo took over it was close to bankruptcy. Paulo kept it going, and in 2015 Mahindra bought Pininfarina for an estimated €168million.
‘We acquired Pininfarina because we have humility,' says Anand Mahindra. 'We’re investing in something with heritage. If I went to my board proposing a new brand called "Maharajah" they’d think I was crazy. We would be committing suicide if we made this anything other than a Pininfarina.'
The initial announcement about the launch of the new car was made at the start of the Rome Formula E race, where Mahindra also unveiled the 2019 Automobili Pininfarina livery for its Formula E car, inspired by Pininfarina's famous 1969 Sigma Formula 1 safety study car.
So, what would Paolo’s grandfather, Batista Farina, have made of this, we asked Paolo.
‘He would be happy, it’s a new adventure. He was an inventor, he invented the style and the brand, an exclusive brand. He’d say it’s ok!’ And with that he grinned and gave a double thumbs up.