Pininfarina is the Italian design studio perhaps best known for penning almost every production Ferrari over the last half century. The firm, however, does much more than just design exotic sports cars. It has created bodies for more mainstream cars like Peugeots, Alfa Romeos and even Daewoos. The company's latest creation is a compact four-seat hatchback propelled by electrons. Pininfarina has formed a joint venture with French battery maker Bolloré to build this electric car.
The B0 uses a hybrid energy storage solution consisting of a 30 kWh lithium-polymer battery and a bank of super-capacitors. While the capacitors have very limited storage capacity, they can absorb and release energy much faster than a battery. That way more regenerative braking can be used and a bigger performance boost is available. Pininfarina hopes to start limited production late in 2009, ramping up volumes as batteries become more available and presumably affordable. The battery pack itself is claimed to have a lifespan of 125,000 miles. A single charge is expected to deliver 153 miles of driving with a maximum speed of 80 mph. Helping to extend the range a bit are solar cells in the roof and on the nose in the area that looks like a grille.