Crucially, the chassis and drivetrain hardware will simply be bought in from a supplier or, as Automobili Pininfarina would have it put, a technology partner. If the technology is already out there, Perschke says, why develop it from scratch yourself?
Incidentally, there was a rumour doing the rounds in the build-up to the launch party that the hypercar’s chassis and powertrain were being supplied by Croatian start-up Rimac. Perschke and his colleagues declined to comment, preferring to keep the identity of that particular technology partner quiet for the time being. When the tall figure of Mate Rimac strolled through the grounds of the palazzo and greeted Mahindra himself with a warm handshake, though, the game was up.
Customers, for the most part, will not care where the hardware comes from. What they will care about is the stunning performance, the autonomous driving capability – the car will manage level three autonomy, meaning it can assume control when certain conditions are met – and the breathtaking styling; just about everybody who saw the renderings that evening thought the hypercar looked sensational. The rest of the world will see the car as a scale model at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August before it makes its full debut at Geneva next March.
Automobili Pininfarina might just be the most viable performance car start-up for a generation. But doesn’t the sort of person who’ll gladly drop £1.7m on a hypercar adore the visceral thrill of an engine? “It’s not chic any more to drive with a combustion engine through Palo Alto, Paris, or Oslo,” says Perschke. “We’re seeing existing hypercar buyers looking at EVs, as well as new buyers who are thrilled by the technology but have never considered a hypercar before.”
Or, as Paolo Pininfarina himself puts it: “We are not frightened of innovation. We want to protect the future of the automobile.”
Pininfarina's Indian investor:
Mahindra Group, as it’s known today, was founded in 1945 in Mumbai, India, by brothers JC and KC Mahindra. The company was initially involved in the steel industry, but it quickly moved into the automotive sector when it won the licence to manufacture the Willys Jeep for the Indian market in 1947.
Today the company operates across 20 industries, including automotive, defence, IT, financial services and hospitality. It generates $19bn in revenue. Mahindra & Mahindra, meanwhile, is the group’s car divisionand one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in India. The company is also engaged in the design and manufacture of low- cost electric vehicles under its Mahindra Electric banner, while the motorsport division, Mahindra Racing, competes in Formula E.