TURIN – Pininfarina S.p.A. has unveiled a running prototype for a new family of electric vehicles that the Italian company wants to produce for automakers and utility companies.
Pininfarina said it would limit production of the car, called the Nido EV, (short for electric vehicle) to less than 10,000 units a year so that it does not become a major competitor to electric vehicles that major car companies plan to launch.
Pininfarina CEO Silvio Angori said the car could help automakers to introduce an EV into their range very quickly. It could also find a market with utility companies and city governments that are looking for an EV that can be tailored to their needs.
Pininfarina is developing three versions of the Nido EV – a two-seat or 2+2 seat passenger version as well as a city delivery van and a pickup.
The prototype is a development of a Nido concept that Pininfarina first unveiled in 2004.
Pininfarina could develop the Nido EV for production in 20 months at a cost of 120 million to 130 million euros ($150 million to $160 million), Angori told Automotive News Europe in a telephone interview.
The Nido EV is powered by a Zebra Z5 nickel sodium chloride battery and has a range of 140km (about 87 miles) and a top speed of 120kph (about 74 mph).
To save weight, the car is being developed with an aluminum frame and plastic body panels, although the prototype has a steel frame. The target weight is 900kg (about 1,985 pounds) including about 180kg for the battery pack.
Angori said Pininfarina is also planning a plug-in hybrid version of the Nido EV with a range-extending small internal combustion engine that would generate electricity for the batteries.
Separately, Pininfarina is developing a four-seat EV called the BlueCar in a joint venture with French entrepreneur Vincent Bollore.
“The BlueCar is a four-seat model with a longer range of 250km and higher production expectations,” Angori said.
Bollore has said he has already received 10,000 preliminary orders for the BlueCar, which goes into production at the end of 2011.
Pininfarina could build up to 15,000 BlueCars a year.