Pininfarina, the styling company famous for work on thoroughbred sports cars such as the Ferrari F40 and Maserati GranTurismo has unveiled its hybrid diesel-electric bus prototype at a transport exhibition in Milan.
Pininfarina was originally inspired to start the Hybus project to combat pollution in Turin, the city where the company is based. The project has been undertaken with Turinese transport group GTT and battery maker FAAM.
The Italian firm has converted a 17-year-old Iveco bus design to take a 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel power unit coupled to an electric generator, which provides energy to the main lithium-ion battery pack. The original rear axle and drive-line remains and is driven by two Magneti Marelli electric motors mated to a collector-reduction gearbox.
The lithium-ion battery pack and the battery management system are supplied by FAAM and the new powerplant and ancillaries management is integrated with the basic original electrical/electronic design. Under braking Hybus recovers kinetic energy to recharge the batteries.
The model on display in Milan is the first demonstration prototype, and Pininfarina estimates that adapting old buses to run with the new technology is about 60 per cent cheaper than buying new hybrid vehicles.
Hybus was developed at Pininfarina's Design and Engineering Centre, and is the result of the company’s decision to focus some of its resources on hybrid and electric mobility. Earlier this month Pininfarina announced that it is giving up the car body building part of its business, although it will continue its design and engineering services.