The first Pininfarina designs since the Mahindra buyout

In December 2015, Indian automaker Mahindra announced that it had bought a controlling stake in Pininfarina, one of the most revered automotive design house in the world. The unlikely partnership cause some concern, as many enthusiasts wondered what will actually happen with the Italian firm under Indian ownership. Several months have passed since the purchase and the first result of the new cooperation surfaced the Internet in the form of futuristic Formula E designs.

For those who aren’t familiar with the racing series, Mahindra Racing took part in the inaugural Formula E season in 2014-2015 and returned for a new campaign in 2015-2016. While the first season was restricted to identical chassis and powertrains, for the second season the FIA allowed manufacturers to develop their own electric motors and gearboxes. Private designs aren’t yet allowed, but Mahindra decided to look into the future and create three separate design for when the series will open up once again.

Designed together with Pininfarina, the virtual concepts are very futuristic compared to current Formula E cars. All three propose carbon-fiber bodies and radical aerodynamics, and two of them feature closed cockpits. Mahindra even went as far as to equip a concept with enclosed front wheels and a transparent fin, while removing the rear wing altogether. The No. 23 car is also missing a rear wing, while employing a flat fin and IndyCar-style side pods. It would be interesting to see how these designs actually work from an aerodynamic standpoint, but for the time being it seems that they were made to put the new Mahindra-Pininfarina collaboration in the spotlight.

“Mahindra is a pioneer of EV technology that is always striving to push the boundaries of this exciting new form of mobility. Our participation in the Formula E championship gives us yet another platform to co-create the Future of Mobility. While these innovative designs are a creative project at this stage, I would be thrilled to see the M5Electro look like this," said Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group.

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Why it matters

Mahindra Racing And Pininfarina Release Formula E Concept Designs
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Granted, these renderings are pretty wild to current Formula E standards (and Formula One standards for that matter,) but it’s great to see that Mahindra and Pininfarina have come up with a project only months after the Italian company went under Indian ownership. Chances are that these concepts will never be more than just a bunch of futuristic renderings, but hopefully this is the beginning of a prolific partnership that will soon spawn at least a production car. Mahindra might not be a big name outside Asia, but it has the means to build a global vehicle and it has made significant progress in all sorts of fields, including all-electric drivetrain. With Pininfarina now at its disposal to create attractive designs, the Indian brand should soon launch a product that will appeal European and even North American buyers.

Press Release

Mahindra Racing and Pininfarina today released three concept designs for a future Formula E racing car. These images are the product of a collaborative and creative project that offers fans a glimpse of the potential form of Formula E in the future.

Concept A

The release of these images follows the recent launch of the FIA Formula E tender to design and manufacture the chassis that will be used from season five onwards. To reduce costs, all teams will use the same chassis with the powertrain and software being open to development by the individual manufacturers.

Mahindra Racing aims to stimulate and curate a conversation on the future form and next generation technology of Formula E, encouraging fans to share their thoughts on these designs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FormulaEConcepts.

CONCEPT B

Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group said: “Mahindra is a pioneer of EV technology that is always striving to push the boundaries of this exciting new form of mobility. Our participation in the Formula E championship gives us yet another platform to co-create the Future of Mobility. While these innovative designs are a creative project at this stage, I would be thrilled to see the M5Electro look like this.”

Pininfarina joined the Mahindra Group in December 2015 signing an investment agreement with Tech Mahindra. With legendary high-end design credentials across many sectors, it is perhaps Pininfarina’s era-defining automotive designs which most racing fans will associate with the iconic Italian design house. The H2 Speed hydrogen car concept was most recently awarded Best Concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

CONCEPT C

Chief Creative Officer of Pininfarina Fabio Filippini commented: “Formula E is one of the most exciting signs of the changes underway in the automotive world as well as in motor racing. Its success is the proof. Exercising our creativity on these sketches allowed us to imagine the evolution of this formula. A possible contribution of Pininfarina to the future development of a Formula E car would be a highly motivating challenge, fully consistent with our mission of creators and innovators in the automotive field”.

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