Pininfarina B0 (B-Zero)

Pininfarina has dubbed the aluminum and fiberglass-composite B-Zerio “the solution for a cleaner world” and they assure us that she an honest-to-goodness production vehicle.
Pininfarina B zero

by Ross Bonander

Specs

  • Type: 100% electric
  • Class: 4-seat hatchback
  • Manufacturer: Pininfarina (and Bolloré)
  • Propulsion system: 45 kW electric motor
  • Top Speed: 80 mph (130 km/h)
  • Zero-to-60 km/h (37 mph): 6.3 seconds
  • Vehicle range: 250 km
  • Fuel: Electricity provided by a battery, supercapacitors, and solar panels on roof and hood
  • Battery system: solid-state lithium polymer battery (BatScap LMP), rechargeable from standard socket
  • Tailpipe emissions: None

The manufacturer says...

“Bolloré and Pininfarina have entered into a partnership featuring all the expertise required to launch serial production of an electric car which, thanks to its technical characteristics and its attractive styling, is bound to make waves in motoring circles.”

The critics say...

“What sets the B0 apart from the other electric cars from start-up companies is the truly professional level of finish and furnishings.” Car and Driver

Overview

Pininfarina, the design virtuosi behind some of the sexiest Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, and Fiats have dubbed the aluminum and fiberglass-composite B0 “the solution for a cleaner world” and they assure us that she is no concept car, but an honest to goodness production vehicle, starting at the end of 2009. Despite the collaboration with Bolloré, the vehicle will be sold under the far more familiar Pininfarina name.

What we like

The battery. The beating pulse of any electric vehicle is her battery, and Pininfarina’s proprietary technology has produced a solid-state lithium polymer battery that recharges “in just a few hours” (that could be less vague) via any standard socket. They claim it is maintenance-free with a 125,000 mile lifespan (200,000 km).

The supercapacitors. Pininfarina’s using them as a regenerative breaking system, meaning the vehicle’s ability to store and recycle that energy is very efficient and should provide a kick to the acceleration.

The solar panels. They’ve integrated some panels on the roof and hood to collect solar energy, but it’s not clear from the web site whether they’re installing actual solar panels or advanced photovoltaic cells.

The interior. A crisp, classy and unfussy cockpit.

What we don’t

The body. As EV’s go, she’s not bad, but Pininfarina’s failure to do anything compelling with the design highlights the limitations of the electric car. If Pininfarina can’t beautify you, can anyone?

The name. This vehicle may not reach English speaking shores as “B0” for obvious reasons. Why not just go with B-Zero in the first place?

Conclusions

Although Le Figaro reported that the car would lease for 500 euros a month, it’s too soon for a full price estimate, but it’s not hard to guess: expect the B-Zero to be a very pricey little thing. You’ll pay for the years and years of proprietary research that has gone into the battery and supercapacitor systems, as well as for the name Pininfarina.

Either way, she brings some exciting technology to the table, and as a production vehicle she has a greater chance of achieving her goal of “cleaning the world.’

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