Pininfarina and Hybrid Kinetic confirm $68 million deal to build electric sedan

Italian design house Pininfarina announced a $68 million deal to collaborate with Hong Kong-based Hybrid Kinetic Group to produce the H600 electric sedan set for reveal next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

Pininfarina will support Hybrid Kinetic's development efforts, aiding in the styling, engineering, and validation of the sedan. The deal is set to run for 46 months. Hybrid Kinetic is currently in the business of building electric motors and batteries as a supplier, as well as making its own brand of electric buses. The new sedan will bring it to a new market of alt-fuel luxury cars and is likely aimed at Tesla and other recent startups.

Pininfarina has been teasing the attractive sedan, but cryptically avoided specifying the powertrain. Hybrid Kinetic now says the H600 EV will run a "micro turbine electric generator" designed to extend range. More specs are expected to be revealed in Geneva.

Pininfarina is also debuting the Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo concept at the auto show, a supercar developed with iconic driver Emerson Fittipaldi and German company HWA, an AMG offshoot. The new ventures come as 87-year-old Pininfarina moves away from its traditional business model of relying on designing cars for Ferrari. The strategy is the vision of Pininfarina's owner, Mahindra, which bought a controlling stake in the firm in 2015.

In a statement, Pininfarina chief executive Silvio Pietro Angori said, "Hybrid Kinetic has chosen to cooperate with the Pininfarina Group thanks to the set of skills and technologies in the field of sustainable mobility that we have developed over several years. This agreement confirms the primacy of our company in the world of automotive design, engineering, and production of small series at a time of great change in the automotive world."

The deal sounds like an attempt by Pininfarina to diversify its client base, which makes sense given impending changes to the transportation industry and its associated regulations.

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