As the Battista pure-electric hyper GT nears its final phase of development and customer deliveries early in 2022, revered racer and Automobili Pininfarina Test and Development Driver Nick Heidfeld has taken the opportunity to appraise the most powerful Italian sports car ever created, on road and track near the company’s engineering and operations centre in northern Italy.
Automobili Pininfarina’s engineers have worked with ex-Formula One and Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld since the start of the Battista development programme. Nick said: “It has been a real privilege to play a part in developing Battista, which represents a significant evolution in the world of hyper and luxury cars. From the first time I experienced Battista’s performance in 2019 in an advanced simulator, to today on road and track, I believe the Automobili Pininfarina team has successfully developed a unique hyper GT that is enormous fun, as well as incredibly fast.”
As the most powerful production car to ever come out of Italy, engineering excellence has been the constant throughout development, and the tailored driving experience provided by the Battista’s advanced e-powertrain and bespoke driving dynamics has impressed Heidfeld throughout.
The full 1,900 hp is experienced in Furiosa mode, which also utilises the full torque available from the four independent electric motors, combining to deliver a 0-100 km/h time of less than two seconds and a top speed of 350 km/h. Originally projected to produce 2,300 Nm of torque, Battista is now developing an increased 2,360 Nm. This comes from two 250 kW motors at the front, and two 450 kW motors at the rear, with 280 Nm of torque for each front motor and 900 Nm at each rear motor.
“In this test I was able to drive Battista with full power available. The effect under acceleration is completely mindbending – drivers will never bore of the experience, no matter how many times they feel it. This road car sprints faster than a Formula 1 car, and in Furiosa mode, I was left with a huge grin on my face every time. Every client that experienced Battista with me was positively overwhelmed by the experience – there is simply nothing like it.” – Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld continued: “Battista is a beautiful piece of design, and its formidable presence is now enhanced by its unique exterior sound. With Battista in Furiosa mode, the exterior sound is at its most audible setting and it instantly made me smile on approach. You hear Battista before you see it – the car appears ‘alive’, and it helps develop an emotional connection that I honestly did not expect. The team had a tough target to hit here, and I believe this strategy is now proving a success.”
Four independent high-performance electric permanent-magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) independently distribute power to each wheel through the Battista’s advanced torque vectoring system, which delivers infinitely variable driving dynamics.
The system recuperates and transfers electrical energy without using the brakes – the active energy shifting takes place directly via the four electric motors, resulting in a much faster, more precise and efficient shift of torque compared with torque vectoring by braking.
Control of the driving experience is provided by a beautifully milled rotary dial, ergonomically situated right next to the driver, allowing for quick changes in driving mode between Pura, Calma, Energica, Furiosa and Carattere settings – each one lending a unique character to the Battista’s drive, perfectly adapted to a range of driving conditions.
Heidfeld said: “The handling on open roads – even on unpredictable surfaces – proved Battista to be beautifully balanced. Just how a hyper GT should feel. Battista’s performance on track had already surprised and impressed me after I experienced it in Nardo earlier this year, so my expectations on this occasion were set high. This test however confirmed that the team has achieved its target of creating a new type of hyper GT which is rewarding on all surfaces. The ride quality and damping both feel excellent, and the steering feels natural and the perfect fit for what we want to achieve in Battista. I am very sensitive to steering feel as a racing driver, and the sweet spot here is for it to feel light yet connected, and direct yet smooth.”
Calibrated using thousands of miles of software simulation before being introduced to development cars, the driving modes allow the driver to fine-tune the driving experience and unlock both the full potential of the advanced torque vectoring system and honed characteristics of the Battista as a hyper GT.
Paolo Dellacha, Automobili Pininfarina Chief Product and Engineering Officer remarked: “Our cooperation with Nick Heidfeld started in 2019, when he participated in the first physical ergonomic test of the Battista interior model; evaluating the driving position and the proposed HMI system. This was followed by him ‘virtually’ testing Battista in an advanced driving simulator where we started to tune the hyper GT’s bespoke chassis dynamics set-up. Nick has been a brilliant partner throughout the whole development programme, not only for his driving skills and unique experience in both Formula 1 and Formula E, but also for his ability to evaluate and improve the programme in its various stages of development by delivering the anticipated view of our customers.
“This input was essential as we aimed to combine the extreme performance of a hypercar with a much wider spectra of usability in Battista, where outstanding power and torque are always accessible, safe and enjoyable on roads every day. Battista now has incredibly refined body and axle balance, perfect integration of e-powertrain and chassis domain controls, and optimum specific calibrations of its five Drive Modes. Coupled with its highly-connected User Interface and unique Sound Experience, Battista is now redefining the essence of Granturismo.”