Automobili Pininfarina will team up with engineering giant Bosch and leading automotive technology firm Benteler to develop a new high-performance electric platform for luxury vehicles.
The firm is currently developing its first model, the 1900bhp Battista hypercar, which is due in 2020 and shares much of its technical underpinnings with the Rimac C_Two. But the firm has long been planning a far wider range of electric cars, and would like to have a range of three or four models by 2026/27.
The new jointly developed platform, announced at the Frankfurt motor show, will underpin future Automobili Pininfarina models, the first of which is planned to be a luxury SUV that will be inspired by a concept called Pura Vision that will be revealed next year.
Automobili Pininfarina said the three firms would “evaluate the market potential” for the new platform concept, adding that it would be made available to other manufacturers to use to “enable a more rapid adoption of electromobility across all market segments”.
Company boss Michael Pershke said that luxury brands including Aston Martin and Maserati could be potential partners, but confirmed he had not yet spoken to any other car maker yet about the possibility.
He said such partnerships were crucial for car makers to form as the cost of developing an electric car architecture ran to more than 1 billion euros and few car makers had the balance sheet to support the investment needed. The appeal of this new architecture, added Pershke, was the involvement of Bosch and Benteler in making it to “an industry standard”. He added: “It’s the first third party platform for the luxury segment.”
“It’s not if we find a partner but who and when,” said Pershke, such was the both the appeal and necessity for luxury car makers to work together on developing electric car platforms.
“We’re open to lots of companies. How solid is your balance sheet to invest a billion? Can you do it? Look at BMW and Daimler - even they are working together on autonomous development, and it’s not because they love each other.
“Sharing risk is better than everyone diving by themselves.”
The move to offer the new platform to other firms is similar to what Volkswagen has done with its MEB chassis. Ford has already agreed a deal to develop models on the VW Group chassis.
The skateboard platform, with motors located on the front and rear axles and batteries situated under the floor, is due to support battery capacities in excess of 100kWh and four electric motors. Work will now begin on readying it for industrialisation for next year.
Christian Jung, Automobili Pininfarina’s technical chief, said: “The beauty of electrification is that the combination of batteries, motors and chassis provides a relatively modular concept around which to develop a range of cars.”
Automobili Pininfarina’s desired range includes several SUVs as well as GTs and sports cars but for now it is the Pura Vision, a rival for the likes of the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga, that has been designed and early development begun.
Pershke said the model can still make production without another car maker coming in and sharing the development costs of the new architecture on which it would be based but pricing would have to be much higher.
Automobili Pininfarina is a new firm based in Germany established by the Indian Mahindra Group, which also owns the separate Pininfarina design house. While separate, the two firms have worked together, with the design house having penned the Battista's styling.