The Green Lane: Pininfarina Battista
'The Pininfarina is quicker than an F16 fighter jet'
Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders drive the fastest car in the world, the Pininfarina Battista – and it’s electric!
The Green Lane: Pininfarina Battista
JT – so I’m guessing that you never imaged the fastest accelerating car on the planet would be all-electric, rather than a Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren?
JS – That’s true! But the Battista represents the future of high-performance cars, as the battery revolution continues apace. When the combustion engine is history, Battista will be remembered as a ground-breaking machine, one that outpaced everything else on the
Yes, but let’s be honest, the world’s first extreme electric vehicle wasn’t designed for economical drives around town and it costs a massive £2 million.
Battista is very easy on the eye though – just what you would expect from an Italian car design company with an unrivalled heritage. Pininfarina was famous for creating countless Ferraris and other legendary cars, such as the Alfa Romeo ‘boat-tail’ Spider, Peugeot 205 and Bentley Azure.
Indeed, but following the company’s well-publicised split with Ferrari in 2017 – two years after Indian multinational Mahindra bought a majority share – Battista is Pininfarina’s first own-brand vehicle since the company formed in 1930.
And it has the statistics to blow every other Top Trumps card off the table – 0-62mph in 1.9 seconds, 0-124mph in less than six (faster than an F1 car) and 0-184mph in 12 seconds, which according to Pininfarina is quicker than an F16 fighter jet.
It will be exclusive too. Just 150 will be handcrafted in Turin, guaranteeing future collectability. Each is loaded with a T-shaped battery pack producing an astonishing 1,874bhp, or the equivalent of more than a dozen Honda Civics – another interesting stat!
And when we went to Italy to drive it, the makers were keen to stress the eco nature of the cabin materials, using olive leaves to tan the sustainably-sourced leather and recycled fishing nets for the floor mats. The entire car can be personalised inside and out too – even the paint colour applied to the underside of the pop-up rear wing.
That giant ‘intelligent’ spoiler isn’t just for show, though. It deploys automatically at high speeds and can generate up to 500kg of downforce – which Pininfarina says is more than the weight of a fully grown polar bear, just in case you see one in the Cotswolds.
I found the lack of engine noise especially odd with this car. However, apparently audiophiles can play with a bespoke 1,300W audio system designed by Naim – the same British company used by Bentley. If there’s time between dashing from corner to corner, there are ten speakers to spot in the cabin.
Oh and it was something else to drive too! Tearing around the Italian countryside, the Battista was blisteringly fast. It presses you back into the driver’s seat, daring the driver to up the power through the sportier drive modes. In one pedal mode it regenerates power and slows the car down as you ease off the accelerator, so there’s no need to brake.
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Even over rough road surfaces, the hypercar refused to give up grip, thanks in part to all-wheel drive. Hit the accelerator and the Battista takes off at Warp Factor 9. I had no chance to glance down and check out the speedometer.
The first car to bear the Pininfarina badge is massively fast. And the name is a tribute to the late Battista Pininfarina, who founded the design business all those years ago. But there are more models to come apparently – this is just the start of a fleet of more family-friendly and cheaper models.
My favourite piece of design was the neat electric plug in flap – it’s bang centre at the rear. Wouldn’t you just love to pull in to a public charge station on the M25 in one of these? Pininfarina claim the Battista is good for 310 miles but on a ‘spirited’ drive, I expect you would be visiting a charge station more times than you might imagine…
Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.
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