Legendary Italian carmaker, Pininfarina, may yet have some surprises up its sleeves. Even with recent financial difficulties, Pininfarina’s CEO, Silvio Pietro Angori, told Italian newspaper, Il Sole 24, that the company’s Bluecar electric car venture with french investor Vincent Bollore is not simply a concept car and still on track for a 2011 market debut.
Earlier this year we reported that the Bluecar was the first next-generation electric car to be proposed with built-in control-by-iPhone capabilities. Since then other companies, including Nissan, have stated that their electric cars will be controllable by iPhone as well.
Pininfarina says that, in testing, the Bluecar—powered by special lithium metal polymer batteries—has shown a range of about 150 miles. The car is also fitted with a bank of supercapacitors to efficiently store energy generated during regenerative braking and has solar panels on the hood and roof to help power some of the car accessories.
Part of the deal between Pininfarina and Bollore includes manufacturing of the Bluecar to be performed by Pininfarina in Italy. Given that France has just announced huge amounts of money available to encourage a goal of 2 million EVs on French roads by 2020, it has probably given Frenchman Bollore second thoughts about not taking advantage of producing the car in France with huge government incentives.
Mr. Angori dismissed this concern saying, “I can imagine Bollore would ask himself what sense it makes to produce the car in Italy when you can make use of incentives in France. [Without doubt] his engagement to the initiative was recently reconfirmed.”
I’m not sure what to make of Angori’s statements. When a CEO has to fervently defend his company’s promised products, and the production of them depends on terms that don’t make financial sense, it often turns out that those products are vaporware.
Image Credits: Pininfarina