© Mike Duff Pagani Starts Work on an Electric Supercar
When compared to Italy’s longer-established supercar makers, Pagani remains a minnow. In the 19 years since it launched its first model, the company has produced fewer cars than Ferrari or Lamborghini makes in a month. The grand total comprises 136 of the original Zonda in its many guises, 100 Huayra coupes, and, most recently, the first tranche of the recently launched Huayra roadster, which will also be limited to just 100 examples.
Yet the company is now actively planning an electric future, with founder Horacio Pagani confirming that work has begun on the creation of what will become a high-powered EV. Our interview with him on the company’s stand at the Geneva auto show was conducted through an interpreter—Pagani insists that he doesn’t speak English, while proclaiming so in English—but there was nothing lost in translation about the intensity of the feelings he holds for his company and its future.
There are no plans to end production of internal-combustion Paganis beyond 2020, when the production run of the Huayra roadster concludes. But work has already begun on producing an electron-propelled version as well.
“There is electric-car research already ongoing,” Pagani said. “That is not something you can just pretend not to see, that everyone is developing something in this direction. The management is already organizing the company to have a division specifically for electric cars. Already, by the end of 2018, the idea is to have a section where electric cars can be developed and tested.
“The technologies and safety standards you need are completely different from any combustion-engine car production—we’re talking about 800 volts—so all of the training and the technicians will have to be up to the standards to work on such a vehicle.”© Provided by Car and Driver Pagani-Huayra-Roadster-102
Horacio Pagani has always been a pioneer. After leaving his native Argentina for Italy, he rose to become Lamborghini’s head of composites and was the driving force behind the creation of the forward-looking Countach Evoluzione concept in 1987, a one-off that swapped the metal structure of Lamborghini’s infamous supercar for one made of lightweight materials including, Kevlar and carbon fiber. His own company, founded in 1992, has always been at the cutting edge of materials technology. That’s something Pagani thinks will help the firm deal with the weight and size of battery packs.
“We aren’t really challenging with crazy horsepower,” he said, although we note that the Huayra roadster has 720 horsepower, “it is more about lightweight vehicles with extremely good drivability. Transfer this to an electric vehicle, and you can imagine what we are looking for: an extremely light weight that will probably be a benchmark for electric cars in the future.”
The company’s ability to trim mass has been ably demonstrated by the Huayra roadster, which, by the company’s numbers, is actually 176 pounds lighter than the fixed-roof coupe produced before it. Pagani’s long-running technical partnership with Daimler—a deal originally brokered by none other than Juan Manuel Fangio—means there is no question which powertrain any EV will use.
“Mercedes has the technology available,” Pagani said, also citing Daimler’s recent confirmation of an entry into the Formula E race series, “and thanks to the relationship, we have access to that technology, which is probably in the pipeline, we could say, for our research.”© Provided by Car and Driver Pagani-Huayra-Roadster-107
Don’t expect a hybrid. While Pagani himself is a huge fan of the Porsche 918 that he owns—he shows a picture of what it looks like as viewed from the window of his office—he doesn’t think a blended powertrain would work in one of his company’s cars.
“I imagine a car that is fully electric,” he said. “I love the design and the style of the 918, but when the battery runs out you are still carrying the batteries around with your combustion engine. That’s about [660 pounds] of weight, useless weight.”
But both Horacio Pagani and his engineers are already thinking of ways to ensure an EV delivers an appropriate level of excitement and emotional appeal. “For us it is a challenge, but also a goal, to try to create an electric emotion,” he said. One possibility that is being considered is building a car with the counterintuitive option of a manual gearbox. “That was the first question when I went to the design and engineering team: Can we have a manual transmission with an electric car?”
Pagani admits: “Everybody replied that you don’t need that on an electric car, so I don’t have an answer right now. But looking at what our customers around the world want, we can tell you that maybe some clients didn’t buy the Huayra because it didn’t have the option of a manual transmission. There was a time when everybody wanted a dual-clutch transmission, but now the purists are saying that they want to go back to a manual because [an auto] lacks the emotion that you get changing gears yourself.”
We are really hoping that the answer from the engineers comes back in the affirmative. Although Pagani is starting to plan for the shape his company will take beyond him—he is 62 now—he insists that its independence will not be compromised.
- Our First Drive Review of the 2013 Pagani Huayra
- The Superest Supercars at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show
- Independents of Speed, European: Horacio Pagani
“My concept for the company in 10 years would be to guarantee the quality of the cars that we are building in the same volume,” he said. “We are a small, family-owned group. We do not belong to a big corporation or a large automotive group where you lose your freedom.”
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/pagani-starts-work-on-an-electric-supercar/ar-AAvLIkM