Pininfarina, the Italian design house behind almost all of Ferrari’s 20th century masterpieces, now has a sister company. Automobili Pininfarina will ultimately have a full range of zero emission, full-electric luxury cars with its famous badge on the front. We caught up with Automobili Pininfarina’s head of design, Luca Borgogno, to discover why the new brand will be joining the SUV party, but not before it’s finished developing the most powerful Italian sports car in the world – the full-electric, 1900hp, 250mph-plus Battista hypercar.

W*: Why did you tweak the design of the Battista after its recent Geneva Motor Show unveil in March 2019?
Luca Borgogno: It’s an ongoing process. Geneva was an unmissable appointment. The project is on target to deliver the first car in the very last days of 2020, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Pininfarina. The real ramp-up of production will be in the first quarter of 2021. That’s more or less the idea.

W*: So what changed?
LB: The front wing is more integrated. Before it was separated by this black stripe running around it. Now it’s cleaner. We still have the front headlights with full-width LEDs but the headlamp cover is new. Before it was too complicated. Below the windscreen we now also have two black downward ‘fangs’ too. They are a little bit functional and a little bit aesthetic, there are small outtakes to remove some of the hot air inside.

Pininfarina Battista
Pininfarina Battista

W*: It’s well-reported a range of cars will follow the Battista hypercar and could include a large SUV, coupe and perhaps a saloon. What are your plans for the first of those, the SUV?
LB:
We’re working hard on getting the second product out very soon. With an electric platform the variables of height and length are difficult to treat in a normal way. The object we’re doing, proportion-wise is different from what is in the market now. When you talk about SUVs what comes to mind is something like a Range Rover but we would like to offer something different. I struggle to find a real rival because it’s not just the pure design of the object itself but the electric powertrain which puts it in a category of its own.

W*: Historically Pininfarina has been largely known for elegant design. Is the Automobili Pininfarina approach similar?
LB: Our basic principles, the character of execution, are about having just one or two lines that define the general theme of the car, with a mixture of aerodynamic, technical and aesthetics together on the same kind of level. Those will be a driver for our products.

luca borgogno design director automobili pininfarina
Automobili Pininfarina design director Luca Borgogno

W*: What car designs from the past inspire you?
LB: The 1970 Pininfarina Ferrari Modulo is probably the best car ever made, but I like the [1970 Bertone] Stratos Zero a lot as well. These kinds of cars are the ones that inspired me the most.

W*: Are you looking to push your ‘Made in Italy’ connections with other Italian [non-automotive] brands?
LB: Yes, we are looking at a lot of possible collaborations. Luckily the perception of our brand is very strong. I think people like that finally an Italian company has embarked completely on electrification. This is not commonplace in Italy. §