Original: Perhaps the single most influential car design and coachbuilding firm in history, Pininfarina has penned the lines of some of the most stunning cars in the world. The coachbuilder is renowned for creating many of the popular designs for carmakers like Ferrari and Maserati but at the same the design house has been known to create spectacular one-off concepts of its own.
Its latest creation is the new Sintesi concept, which is destined to appear at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Unlike previous concepts, the new Sintesi is more about packaging solutions and sustainable motoring rather than pure style. Speaking with Automotive News, Pininfarina head of design Lowie Vermeersch told reporters that the size of the engine and transmission to a major extent determines the shape of the vehicle and conventional powertrains are still too bulky.
That’s why for the Sintesi, designers have developed a new fuel cell powertrain that can be spread out into different locations in the car. For example, Pininfarina put an electric motor into each of the wheels, while four fuel cell stacks are positioned on the vehicle frame near the wheels. The central tunnel houses the tank for biofuel and a reformer, a device that transforms the biofuel into hydrogen before sending it to the four fuel-cell stacks.
The advanced drivetrain was a joint-effort between Pininfarina and American firm Nuvera Fuel Cells. Its makers claim the Sintesi develops a combined output of 240hp and that vehicles with this sought of “distributed packaging” could be on the road by 2015. You can get even more details about the Sintesi in our previous story by clicking here.
Three years after the Birdcage 75th, Pininfarina returns with the Sintesi, a new concept car that explores ideas and solutions for the car of the future.
“The Sintesi is not only a testament to the creativeness of our design team,” declared Andrea Pininfarina, Chairman and Managing Director of the Group, “but it reiterates our historical ability to anticipate stylistic and technological solutions that we will see in the cars of the future.”
Before being unveiled at Geneva, the Sintesi has been the subject of a teaser campaign (www.sintesi.pininfarina.com) which has attracted a great deal of interest online among specialist journalists, scoring more than 250,000 hits on Google.
The Sintesi is a sports car with four doors and four seats, developed by a highly innovative approach: it does not consider the car as a shape that covers the mechanicals, but one that gives a shape to the mechanicals around the passengers, starting from the latter. This approach, which is known as “Liquid” Packaging, has overturned traditional volumetric balances, improving weight distribution and lowering the centre of gravity, which are important elements for driving dynamics.
This was made possible by close collaboration with Nuvera, which developed the Quadrivium Fuel Cells system, the various components of which were distributed around the car, with four fuel cells positioned near to the wheels. The result is that the space for passengers is much more generous – in proportion to the total volume of the car – without detracting from the sporty line with its relaxed, elegant profile which is sleek, tapered and aerodynamic (Cd = 0.27). The modular nature of the fuel cells, combined with the batteries and a sophisticated overall electronic architecture (developed with PI Shurlok), allows for modular use of the available power depending on driving conditions.
“Our source of inspiration,” said Lowie Vermeersch, Pininfarina Design Manager, “was man’s freedom over technology, a car in which technology gives creative freedom back to the designer and allows us to explore new forms and future scenarios. But at the same time, we did not want everything to be limited to a flight of fancy, we wanted our approach to be very concrete. Which is why we combined and tested our ideas with the innovative technologies provided by our partners in this project.”
The Sintesi was imagined in a setting of Transparent Mobility which, thanks to Clancast®, the radio technology developed by Reicom after years of research, envisages that all cars act as nerve cells, creating a dynamic communications network managed by a disseminated intelligence. A real “living connective tissue” on which data and information about traffic and security, audio and video, Internet and cross-media content can travel. A concept of wireless connectivity that establishes a continuous, transparent dialogue between the town, the road and the vehicles that we will drive in the future, without limiting the motorist’s autonomy, but increasing his sense of freedom.
This futuristic scenario, based on concrete, existing technology, opens the door to advanced active safety solutions which in turn have made it possible to design the car with volumes that are not conditioned by today’s bulky passive safety systems.
The important role played by electronics in the Sintesi project is also evident in the design of the interior and the lights. Inside, the facia symbolises the flow of information in which the car moves. Created as a single semi-transparent piece by Materialise, using the additive technology of personalised manufacturing, its shape disseminates the information around the passenger compartment thanks to the intuitive use of colour and light.
The lights become focal points through which the car dialogues with its environment. In addition to the innovative LED system supplied by Osram, which made it possible to create a simple, strong shape that underlines the car’s central axis, the ‘headlights’ also incorporate the telecameras and the proximity radar system.
In Geneva other cars will make their debut on our clients’ stands.
The Ford stand hosts the debut of the new Ford Focus Coupé-Cabriolet, which is manufactured in the Pininfarina plant in Bairo, where the “job one” was celebrated on February 21. Like the other models of the Focus family, the new Coupé-Cabriolet, which will be launched this Spring, has a more gutsy, sporty look both inside and outside.
The Granturismo S has its world première on the Maserati stand, a sporty, high performance version of the Granturismo designed by Pininfarina, which won the “Best in Show” award at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show.
The Model Year 2008 of the Alfa Spider debuts on the Alfa Romeo stand. The model was developed jointly by Pininfarina and the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, and it includes significant improvements in the interior, guaranteeing an even higher level of comfort and well-being on board. The 2008 version of the Alfa Brera also makes its appearance; like the Spider, it is built in the Pininfarina plant in San Giorgio Canavese.
“This edition of the Geneva Motor Show – said Andrea Pininfarina - also represents a moment of joy and pride for the induction of my father, Sergio Pininfarina - our Honorary Chairman - into the European Automotive Hall of Fame, marking high points in the history of our company.”