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Coupe

Man Behind the Battista Supercar Takes Over as CEO of Automobili Pininfarina

Paolo Dellacha

Dellacha, 48, has been with Automobili Pininfarina since the new company was founded in 2018 by Mahindra as a consumer brand to create Pininfarina-branded and designed EVs. As chief product and engineering officer, he led the tech team through the development of the Battista supercar from start to first delivery to a customer in San Francisco in October 2022.

The Battista hypercar was a heck of a marketing tool to launch the new company. With 1,874 horsepower, 1,696 lb-ft of torque, and 300 miles of range, the electric hypercar broke the production car acceleration record, going from 0 to 60 mph in 1.79 seconds, as well as the braking record for an electric vehicle, and it has the most range for an electric supercar.

Hand-Building Pininfarina Battistas

So far, the brand has built six Battistas, which start at $2.2 million a pop, and they’ve delivered three with more in the pipeline. It takes about six months to hand-build each one, which means production will continue until 2026 to complete the full run of 150 cars—no more, no less. Dellacha will not say how many have been sold to date, beyond the fact that the five $2.9 million Battista Anniversario models sold out immediately after they premiered during Monterey Car Week in 2021.

The Battista was developed in partnership with friend and fellow engineer Mate Rimac, who was co-developing the Rimac Nevera. The two cars use the same motors and batteries, and they both have carbon-fiber bodies. Dellacha likes to think the Battista stands out for its design; after all, the company has its roots in the Italian car design firm and coachbuilder Pininfarina SpA. Developing the Battista was an incredible experience, Dellacha says. So how do you follow it up, especially when you are the CEO?

Future Pininfarina Models In the Works

He says the vision behind the first car—pure luxury, outstanding design, and incredible performance that ranges from extreme to daily driving—remains unchanged as the brand broadens its lineup. Work started a “while ago” on new products to come. Dellacha won’t confirm that plans include a roadster, grand tourer, and an SUV, saying only that it might be difficult to define some of the models by segment.

The company will unveil more of its design intent and philosophy this year. We will see a concept soon that shows the design language of the products to come, he says. At Monterey Speed Week in Pebble Beach this summer, “We will show a few things,” Dellacha says, adding that future models will continue to exhibit a purity of lines and attention to proportion. But don’t look for specific design cues from the hypercar to be replicated. The Battista is a limited production car, so bespoke that no two are the same. Once one is created, the configuration is frozen so it cannot be duplicated. Pininfarina wants to keep its promise that every Battista will remain an original.

Not All Pininfarinas Need to Be Limited Run

Future EVs will stay in the luxury segment and could still be exclusive and low volume, but not as limited a run as the Battista, Dellacha says. The automaker does not have to wait until Battista production is done in 2026 to start building additional models—capacity can be expanded at, or near, the plant in Cambiano, Italy.

Rimac could be a partner in a future product, as could other companies with expertise that Automobili Pinanfarina does not want to develop in-house. Part of his job as CEO is to identify what has to be unique and must be developed internally, and what is best developed with a partner. The decisions will be made case by case. Design will always remain the sole domain of the brand, as will the drive experience.

Having hit the pinnacle of performance with the Battista, Dellacha says the focus is shifting from power to safety, with exceptional braking and chassis dynamics and calibration. He loves that the Battista also holds the quickest stopping record for a production EV and has enough range for long drives. With his CEO responsibilities, Dellacha will be less hands-on in the tech development of future models, but he will continue to make frequent trips to the technology hub in Munich and travel globally to promote the company and get feedback from customers.

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