Pininfarina Sintesi fuel cell concept car

Pininfarina Sintesi fuel cell concept car

At last year's Geneva Motor Show, Pininfarina revealed its Sintesi fuel-cell vehicle, a skillful and attractive concept that showed the legendary coachbuilder was still at the cutting edge of design. This time around, the company is planning to try its hand at an electric vehicle, marrying practicality with high-tech modernity.

The concept will preview a plug-in electric vehicle that Pininfarina plans to actually launch and distribute under its own brand in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, reports Automotive News Europe. Despite the firm's flirtation with bankruptcy over the past several years, and the sudden and tragic death of its CEO, Andrea Pininfarina, in August, the company has plans to be to market with the car by late 2010. Sales will be small at first, building up to 15,000 by 2013 or 2014.

A new electric car from Pininfarina has been expected for some time, thanks in part to its partnership with French firm Bollore, which will be making the lithium polymer batteries for the car. The high-tech units will give the car a range of 124mi (200km), and require about eight hours to charge from a standard outlet. One of the more interesting features, however, is that the car can also run up to 25km on just a five-minute charge. Early performance goals included a 0-32mph (0-50km/h) time of about 5 seconds and a top speed of 81mpg (130km/h).

The joint venture between the French and Italian companies is expected to devour €300 million in investments, with the production version of the Paris concept car to follow at next year's Geneva Motor Show.