Automobili Pininfarina CEO Per Svantesson is serious about sustainability and the environment.
After many years working in the industry at Volvo and various parts suppliers, Svantesson left the business and started a couple of companies working on batteries and fuel cell technology. Svantesson wanted to be ahead of the curve when the EV transformation arrived, though he was uncertain of the timing back then.
Now, he’s driving that change at the top of the auto industry, meaning the high-end, ultra-luxury segment with the Battista GT hypercar. Each car is handmade in Italy by one of the venerated design houses in the business, taking nearly 2,000 man hours, and is powered by four Rimac-sourced electric motors, each well producing an astounding 1900 horsepower.
And if you have to ask, each car costs over $2 million.
But the eye-watering price tag isn’t dissuading buyers of the otherworldly Battista, even in these uncertain times.
“We are overwhelmed with the positive response we have had, it's really fantastic,” Per Svantesson tells Yahoo Finance from a Pininfarina event for customers and dealers in Greenwich, Connecticut. “It's really an experience to drive. The kind of powertrain we have can do what no other cars really can do, because when you have four motors, one on each wheel, completely independent of each other, controlled by a torque-vectoring system distributing the power, every millisecond recalculating the distribution… it’s a sensation."
The sensation that the Battista creates was almost put on hold for some time. After the reveal of the design concept, COVID-19 hit and put most of Italy on lockdown in early 2020. The company persevered during the tough times, and with its backing from Indian automotive and mobility giant Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M.NS), Pininfarina is now able to begin deliveries in the U.S. with two cars, one of which was on display here in Greenwich.
“So we were delayed a bit, but now we are there,” Svantesson says. “First, the pandemic and the shortages of components, and now the war in Ukraine doesn't help. But we have found our way through that, and, yes, our parent company Mahindra has supported us in finding what we need.”
What’s next for Pininfarina is the automaker’s newest creation, which is under wraps and the company is coy about discussing. While some surmise Pininfarina may come after Mercedes and similar competitors in the premium EV segment, Svantesson said that would not be the case.
“We did some private showings out in Pebble Beach where we invited some of our clients that have already bought the Battista, and some other potential partners and customers. We showed them the concept of the future,” Svantesson said. “We are going to stay up in the higher end of the luxury segment, we’re not going for volumes in any premium segment."
Automobili Pininfarina labels itself as the world’s first “pure electric” luxury brand. Svantesson and the company not only see that as a performance calling card but also as a way of showing respect and responsibility for the company’s effect on the planet.
“You can’t create that kind of setup and that kind of driving experience with any other powertrain, but then we are also driven by sustainability, to reduce the footprint,” Svantesson said. “We want to be able to give people the chance to enjoy luxury without feeling guilty, without making a footprint on the environment, that’s what we strive for - zero impact on the environment.”