Automotive

Pininfarina grows its turbine range extender family with a crossover and SUV

The new family includes a sporty sedan (center), seven-seat SUV (left) and sporty five-seat SUV (right)
The new family includes a sporty sedan (center), seven-seat SUV (left) and sporty five-seat SUV (right)
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Inside the H600 sedan
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Inside the H600 sedan
The H600 interior features a highly digital design with dash-integrated displays and a floating center console touchscreen
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The H600 interior features a highly digital design with dash-integrated displays and a floating center console touchscreen
Inside the H600 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
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Inside the H600 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
Those big, bent slats are one of the main family identifiers
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Those big, bent slats are one of the main family identifiers
Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
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Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
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Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
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Pininfarina shows the H600 sedan at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
The big Shanghai debut was preceded by a Power Jazz dance performance
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The big Shanghai debut was preceded by a Power Jazz dance performance
Pininfarina’s design studio chief Luca Borgogno discusses the concept cars in Shanghai
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Pininfarina’s design studio chief Luca Borgogno discusses the concept cars in Shanghai
Pininfarina and HKG reveal their concepts at Auto Shanghai 2017
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Pininfarina and HKG reveal their concepts at Auto Shanghai 2017
The new family includes a sporty sedan (center), seven-seat SUV (left) and sporty five-seat SUV (right)
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The new family includes a sporty sedan (center), seven-seat SUV (left) and sporty five-seat SUV (right)
HKG micro-turbine generator
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HKG micro-turbine generator
Pulling the cloth off the H600 for its Asian premiere
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Pulling the cloth off the H600 for its Asian premiere
The grilles all look the same from a distance, but if you look between the slates, each design is distinct
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The grilles all look the same from a distance, but if you look between the slates, each design is distinct
Carter Yeung, special representative of the chairman of HKG and CEO of HK Graphene Technology, and Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina, reveal the K750
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Carter Yeung, special representative of the chairman of HKG and CEO of HK Graphene Technology, and Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina, reveal the K750
A look at the micro-turbine and battery underpinnings 
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A look at the micro-turbine and battery underpinnings 
The K750, K550 and H600, back left to front right
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The K750, K550 and H600, back left to front right

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.

The K750, K550 and H600, back left to front right
The K750, K550 and H600, back left to front right

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.

A look at the micro-turbine and battery underpinnings 
A look at the micro-turbine and battery underpinnings 

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.

Sources: Hybrid Kinetic Group, Pininfarina

5 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
I've said it on here before, but this is the future of hybrid electric vehicles: micro-turbine generators. Within the next decade, I predict that this will be the dominant tech. The immense benefits simply too far outweigh those offered by competing options.
watersworm
@Mzungu : Agree +++++++++
zr2s10
I can't believe that they're the first ones to do it, I've also thought this was the way to go. Turbines are the most efficient method of burning fuel! Of course, I hear noise is an issue, but I'm sure it can be muffled down to a reasonable level.
fb36
Absolutely yes!
IanBennett
This is all nonsense, no company is even close to producing a suitable micro turbine power plant. It's never been done successfully on a realistic commercial basis! Only one microturbine currently exists and its been tried in everything from family cars to garbage trucks and including the Techrules fantasy car and it's not suitable. Dream on......
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