You may not know the name Pininfarina, but you’re probably familiar with its work.
The Italian automobile design firm, or carrozzeria, has been responsible for the styling of hundreds of cars since being founded by Battista "Pinin" Farina in 1930, including dozens of Ferraris like the iconic white Testarossa featured in "Miami Vice."
The company was purchased in 2015 by Indian automaker Mahindra, which three years later launched a sister brand called Automobili Pininfarina to build its own electric supercars.
Automobili Pininfarina CEO Per Svantesson told Fox Business during an exclusive interview and test drive of the company’s first car, the $2.2 million Battista, that it fulfills a dream of Farina’s.
"He wanted to create a car company, he never got around to do that, he got caught in his own success designing cars for everyone else," Svantesson said.
The Battista is a collaboration with Croatian electric sports car builder Rimac, which sells the electric Nevera supercar. The two share their carbon fiber chassis and all-electric powertrains, but have been styled and tuned with their own characters. Rimac took control of the Bugatti brand last year.
The Battista coupe announces the company’s arrival with four electric motors rated at a combined 1,877 horsepower, which makes it the most powerful series production car on sale today.
It may also be the quickest car, Pininfarina claiming it can accelerate to 60 mph in less than two seconds. That is quicker than the Tesla Model S Plaid or even an F-22 fighter jet on takeoff, which is what it feels like when you mash the accelerator into the plushly carpeted floor mat. It can also reach a top speed of 218 mph, making it faster than all but a handful of so-called hypercars.
"It’s amazing how you can harness electric horsepower," Svantesson said.
Or dial it back. The Battista offers drivers four power modes, including one called Calma that makes it more relaxed to drive with power only going to the front wheels, but there is still 670 horsepower worth to play with.
The appeal of the Battista to customers goes beyond its performance. Automobili Pininfarina will only build 150, each one designed to its owner’s color and trim preferences. Once someone specifies a car in a certain way, which can raise the price over $3 million, it won’t build the exact same one again. The cars take a team of 10 craftsmen over 1,300 man-hours to build, with 80 of those dedicated just to the paint. The exceptions to this rule are five special edition Anniversario cars, which feature an identical two-tone color scheme that requires 200 hours in the paint shop.
Svantesson said four of the quintet have been sold to customers in the United States, which is shaping up to be its largest market by far.
Additionally, the Battista is not necessarily competing against other multimillion-dollar cars. Svantesson said many of its customers are not buying it "instead of" other cars, but rather adding to their extensive collections.
"With our brand and our history we have attracted these collectors to say ‘I would like to have one Pininfarina like this, the first Pininfarina."
He added that it’s also tapping a new market of high-net-worth individuals looking for green credentials who would not consider something like a Ferrari or Lamborghini as they have yet to provide an all-electric model.
"There are people, leaders, CEOs of companies, that are preaching their sustainability message to the market, and they really do not want to be seen going down the road with a big V16 [gasoline engine] or V12 or whatever, but this car they can take down the road and people can even admire them for the choice they made going electric."
The Battista is surprisingly roomy and features dual touchscreens that control nearly everything from the climate to seat position, but are partially obscured by the steering wheel.
You can't have everything, however. The Battista's driving range is around 300 miles between charges in Calma, which is par for an electric car these days, and the tiny trunk behind its cabin is even less impressive than that, but a custom four-piece set of luggage is available that matches the car and includes a shoe bag and weekender shaped to fit perfectly for $25,000.
Svantesson expects it to take about three years to finish the Battista’s production run, after which it will be replaced by something that’s significantly less expensive, but still near the top of the luxury performance segment.
"The next car will attract a broader audience," he said.
"It’s going to be a more practical car in some ways, a little bit more space than in this one."
This story has been updated with new specifications