Being an independent design house is a tough business these days. You've got to diversify by designing things other than cars like desks
. You also have to take on the odd job of developing one-off supercars
for wealthy gearheads. And you also have to invest your money wisely. The Turin-based design house Pininfarina has announced that it will be taking some of its money and investing it in a joint-venture with French battery manufacturer Bolloré to produce electric cars. The €150 million project will be owned 50-50 by the two companies and draw on Pininfarina's design and manufacturing abilities and Bollore's advanced lithium-ion battery technology. While we have no idea what the car will look like, chances are pretty good it will be stunning in the Italian tradition of car design. We also know it will have four seats and a range of 250 kilometers or 155 miles of city driving. Bolloré's special batteries can be charged fully from a home outlet in 5 hours, or a five-minute charge will offer a little over 15 miles of range. The unnamed car will reportedly be sold in Europe, the U.S. and Japan beginning in 2010 with an annual production run of 15,000 per year. Yeah, we think it's a pretty ambitious plan, too.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]