Each year the Geneva motor show turns up a couple of concepts with real “wow” factor, making you stop and look again - and again…
This year's showstopper, according to everybody who has seen it, is this electric luxury car concept by Pininfarina, named Cambiano after the town where Pininfarina has its headquarters, the Style Centre, which was set up there in 1982 as “Pininfarina Studi e Ricerche”.
It's all about sweet proportions, taut lines and fluid surfaces, with one simple element that extends all along the side to create a strong visual impact in the best tradition of Italian style. The body is one of simple, solid volumes, enhanced by a golden grey paint with iridescent blue shimmer, specially developed for this project.
The front is typical Pininfarina with LED headlights - simple “blocks” of pure, crystalline light - incorporated into the grille and protruding wheel arches.
Tail lights and indicators are almost intangible.
Only the light exists, appearing as if by magic on the surface of the bodywork.
On the driver's side the car is a sports coupé with a single door, but on the passenger side there are two doors that open from the middle, with no B pillar, to makes the most of the spacious passenger compartment.
A slender dashboard and light, body hugging front seats are suspended between the consoles and the sill, while the asymmetrical access to the passenger compartment determines the leaf structure of the two rear seats, which are almost suspended in the car.
The perfectly flat floor is made of recycled wood - not just any wood, but the wood of the “briccole”, the 12-metre poles of European oak that mark the navigation channels and moorings inside the Venice lagoon, thousands of which are replaced each year.
The wood is stained by the lagoon water and marked by marine microorganisms, giving it a special patina which is brought out by hand polishing and oiling.
FOUR ELECTRIC MOTORS
The Cambiano has four Magneti Marelli electric motors, one for each wheel, echa of which can deliver a continuous 60kW - or 150kW in short bursts for a total of 600kW and 640 Nm, taking it from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds. Top speed is electrically limited to 250km/h.
A 50kW Bladon Jets micro turbine, which weighs only 40kg and normally runs on diesel but can be calibrated to burn anything from ethyl alcohol to cough syrup, charges the batteries.
The high-density lithium-ion battery pack is installed between the seats and the rear axle, where it's protected from possible collisions and easily replaced during servicing.
It has a capacity of 50kWh and a peak power delivery of 500kW, and can be recharged in six hours using a domestic 220V supply or in 52 minutes using the turbine.
Magneti Marelli claims a range of 205km in pure electric mode (which is the only thing about this car we find hard to swallow) and 800km using the turbine to extend battery range.