Internationally recognized automotive design firm Pininfarina and Hong Kong based Hybrid Kinetic have signed a contract worth $80 million to jointly develop an electric car. The collaboration is scheduled to last for 46 months. Pininfarina was founded in 1930 and penned many of Enzo Ferraris most beautiful cars before branching out to service other manufacturers. It designed the gorgeous but ill fated Cadillac Allante and recently brought a highly creative (and fabulously expensive) electric bicycle to the Italian motorcycle show in Milan.
The company has been hanging around at the edges of the electric car scene since 2010 and designed the BlueCar that is the centerpiece of the car sharing service operated by Bolloré Group in Paris. It was purchased in 2015 by Indian manufacturer Mahindra Group. Lest you think Mahindra only makes tractors, buses, and trucks, it also owns one of the ten teams that compete in the Formula E electric car racing series.
According to Reuters, “Hybrid Kinetic Group Limited is a Hong Kong-based company principally engaged in the electric motor vehicles business, including electric buses, engines, and related battery cells. The Company is also engaged in the promotion of new energy projects, including the development of key new energy automobile components and the production of single and few-layer graphene. The Company operates through two business segments: the development of advanced batteries materials segment and the development of high-tech electric motor vehicles segment.”
Pininfarina will support Hybrid Kinetic in the development of an electric car from the initial styling concepts through virtual and physical validation for series production. “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. Synergies with a larger group such as Tech Mahindra are strengthening our business opportunities,” Pininfarina Group CEO Silvio Pietro Angori said in a statement.
He added, “To our respective existing customer pools we can offer fully comprehensive design and engineering services. Further, we see synergies with Tech Mahindra enabling us to compete with more traditional players in the domain of electric and hybrid platforms, autonomous driving and connected cars.”
There is no indication that Mahindra has its eye on US sales, but with a Chinese market for automobiles that is now the largest in the world at more than 20 million vehicles, there is more than enough room for the parties to collaborate on electric vehicles designed for the that market and be quite successful selling them there and throughout Asia.