Not too surprisingly, hybrids and electrics have proven very popular at Auto Shanghai 2017, which wraps up this week. Automakers like Volkswagen, Qoros and MG Motor have revealed forward-looking electric concepts there. Italian design house Pininfarina is also in on the fun, showing not just a single range-extended electric but an entire family, starting with the H600 sedan and moving up to the seven-seat K750 SUV.
Pininfarina may be best known for its work with Ferrari, but it's also been working with Chinese brands like BAIC, Chery and JAC since 1996 and has a branch in Shanghai. For its latest project, it's teamed with Hong Kong's Hybrid Kinetic Group, a collaboration that birthed the svelte H600 sedan at last month's Geneva Motor Show.
The H600 wasn't the flashiest microturbine-charged electric at the show, nor the flashiest car at Pininfarina's booth, but it certainly wasn't lacking for style or performance. Claims are that the sedan's 805-hp dual-motor powertrain can kick out a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of just 2.9 seconds and put 620 miles (1,000 km) in the rear view mirror before needing a refuel stop.
Pininfarina and HKG probably could have created ample buzz in China by just holding the H600's Asian premiere, but instead they've expanded the micro-turbine-extender family with the five-seat K550 and seven-seat K750 SUVs. The three vehicles share the same prominently framed front-end designs filled in with toothy grilles, but earn their own identities with details like the grille designs behind those shiny teeth and the bumpers.
Neither the Pininfarina nor HKG announcement details specific powertrain or performance specs for the K550 or K750, but they do state that all family vehicles have a combination of "super batteries" and micro-turbine generators for up to 620 miles of range.
When detailing the H600 last month, HKG identified the super battery as a 30-kWh graphene-enhanced unit. Graphene-enhanced lithium-titanate and graphene lithium-sulfur batteries are among the technologies HKG is working to develop. The HKG family vehicle batteries are developed to handle high charge rates and have an estimated lifespan of 50,000 DOD charging cycles.
HKG says the high-efficiency micro-turbine can run on a variety of fuels, has an expected lifespan of 50,000 hours and requires maintenance in intervals of 10,000 hours. It imagines its vehicles working as backup power sources, able to feed energy into the home, grid or other electric vehicles when needed.
In February, Pininfarina and HKG signed a €65 million agreement covering the design, development, and engineering of a series of electric vehicles with micro-turbine range extenders. The deal will run 46 months.