One of the surprise hits so far from the Paris Auto Show is the unfortunately named Pininfarina B0 (pronounced B Zero) electric car. The car is dedicated to the memory of CEO Andrea Pininfarina, who recently died in an auto accident. The B Zero, which is a full scale production car, not just a concept, is a four-seat, four-door electric hatchback created in partnership with the French company Bolloré.
The first B Zeros (I can’t bring myself to call such a nice looking car the B0) should start rolling off the line in late 2009. Pininfarina always does nice work, but this B0 is particularly impressive. It not only looks nice, it has a really well designed inner structure; for example, the lithium polymer LMP batteries will be located under the vehcile, between the axles to give the B0 a more stable center of gravity. The batteries in electric cars are often one of the heaviest parts of the car. Pics after the jump
The LMP battery
That LMP battery is rechargeable in a matter of hours from a standard electrical socket and can provide a range of 150 miles. The B Zero also have a top speed of 80 mph, and, interestingly, solar panels on its roof and hood, to help recharge its electrical power reserves. I’m impressed, I just hope we eventually get a look at it here in the states.
The complete press release from Pininfarina:
Pininfarina B0 (to be pronounced B Zero) is dedicated to the memory of Andrea Pininfarina who was a firm believer in the project.
“To think, draw, design and build cars is not only an enthralling mental process.
Nor is it simply a business choice. It is also and above all a great social responsibility.”
Andrea Pininfarina (1957-2008)
The B0: the solution for a cleaner world
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.
This car will not be a prototype. It will be a mass production model, with the first units coming off the production line at the end of 2009, after which production will be ramped up gradually based on the availability of the batteries. Built in Turin by Pininfarina-Bolloré, a joint venture formed by the two family-owned groups, the B0 electric car will be powered by Bolloré’s proprietary LMP technology, using a combination of batteries and supercapacitors manufactured in Bolloré’s plants in Quimper, France and Montreal, Canada. The B0 will be a fully-electric vehicle without any carbon dioxide production, having been designed from the ground up with that aim in mind. Its batteries will be housed in a compartment specially designed for that purpose and located under the car, between its axles, lowering its centre of gravity and providing it with outstanding road-holding properties.
With its superb body styled by Pininfarina, Italy’s renowned vehicle design shop, the B0 electric car will be an elegant four-seater, four-door hatchback with an automatic gearbox. Its LMP battery, which will be rechargeable in a matter of hours from a standard domestic main socket, will provide it with a range of 250 km (153 miles). The B0 will have a top speed that is electronically limited to 130 km/h (80 mph) and will feature potent acceleration, reaching 60 km/h from a standing start (0 to 37 mph) in 6.3 seconds. The B0 will also feature solar panels on its roof and hood, so as to help recharge its electrical power reserves.
Volume (litres) 300
Mass (kg) 300
Communication bus CAN
Power rating 30 kWh
Nominal voltage 410 V
Peak power output 45 kW(30s)
Min. / max. battery voltage 300/435 V
Capacity at C/4 75 Ah
Energy density per unit mass 100 Wh/kg
Energy density per unit volume 100 Wh/l
Internal temperature 60°C – 80°C
Operating temperature -20°C à + 60°C
LMP: revolutionary battery technology
At the heart of any electric car, lies the battery. Bolloré is a highly diversified group of companies with a combined yearly turnover of 10 billion US dollars and 35,000 employees. For the past 30 years, the group has been the world’s leading producer of components for capacitors. Thanks to its acquired know-how in extruded polymers and the storage of electrical energy, Bolloré has been working for 15 years through its subsidiary, Batscap, to develop a solid-state lithium polymer battery. This battery is able to store, weight-for-weight, and it can be recharged in just a few hours. The battery does not require any maintenance and has a lifespan of around 200,000 km (125,000 miles). Another key benefit is its unmatched safety while in operation. Added to that, the B0 electric car does not emit any exhaust gases, nor any fine particles. The car’s LMP batteries thus help combat air pollution. The batteries of the B0 also contribute to reducing noise, another nuisance which affects people’s quality of life in urban environments.
Supercapacitors: boosting acceleration and recycling power
Supercapacitors are sophisticated energy storage components developed by the Bolloré Group. In an electric car, supercapacitors draw and store energy generated while the car is braking and feed it back into the system when the car moves off again. The result is greater acceleration, increased range and a longer lifespan for the car’s battery. The electric cars powered by BatScap’s LMP batteries and supercapacitors have a range of over 250 km. They are fast (with a top speed of 130 km/h), pleasant to drive, safe, and long-lasting.
Natural energy from solar panels
Because it is 100% electric powered, the B0 does not generate any pollution. But the process of generating the electricity which the car uses must also, as far as possible, not have produced any atmospheric pollution. That is why the creators of the B0 have designed it to incorporate every possible solution designed to optimise the car’s energy efficiency and use of clean energy sources. For instance, the B0 electric car is fitted with supercapacitors, which enable it to store and recycle the energy that is generated while braking. Similarly, the car’s roof and part of its hood are covered with highperformance solar panels which help power some of its equipment. It goes without saying that a responsible environmental approach must be coherent throughout. Which is why all the materials used to build the car’s body, battery and interior trim have been carefully selected for their low environmental impact. All are recyclable or reusable. The Bolloré Group is also in the process of developing straight-forward panels of photovoltaic cells which might be installed by individuals or in public places to fully or partly recharge the B0 electric car’s batteries using solar energy.
The combined power of two major industrial groups
Ergué-Gabéric / Bolloré
LMP batteries and supercapacitors were developed at the research centre of the Bolloré Group’s production site at Ergué- Gabéric near Quimper in Brittany, France. They were the outcome of a concerted research effort founded on the Group’s core activities, Bolloré being the world’s leading producer of ultra-thin extruded films used in the production of capacitors, another energy storage component. The success of its research programme led the Bolloré Group to form BatScap, a subsidiary dedicated to these activities, some 15 years ago. Nowadays, BatScap’s employees have access to the most advanced laboratory and production facilities and comprise more than 120 engineers, research staff and technicians.
Montréal / Bolloré
In 2007, the Bolloré Group bought the assets of Avestor, the only other company in the world which possessed the technology and the patents required to manufacture LMP batteries. Avestor’s Canadian team, which numbers some sixty highly qualified staff, thus joined BatScap. By pooling the talent, technologies and facilities of both sites, the Bolloré Group is able to wield major and highly sophisticated production facilities which are ample to cater to the production lines of the B0 and electric Microbus vehicles.
Cambiano / Pininfarina
World-renowned for the talent of its design teams which have created many of the world’s most beautiful cars over the years, Pininfarina is also a highly experienced carmaker which produces high-end vehicles on contract for many makes. The B0 electric car will be produced by the Pininfarina-Bolloré joint venture at a plant located near Turin. The joint venture will benefit from the tremendous know-how and experience of Pininfarina’s personnel, who are proud to be involved in producing the world’s first serial production electric car powered by LMP batteries and supercapacitors under the company’s own badge.