The K550 and K750 crossover concepts are bowing at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show

Apparently, being under new ownership has breathed some new life to Pininfarina. Long regarded as one of the best auto design houses in the business, the Italian company has since ratcheted up its concept production with a pair of new concepts for its new automotive BFF, Chinese company Hybrid Kinetic Group. It wasn’t that long ago that the two companies joined together to present the H600 sedan, which debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Now we’re seeing two more concepts, the K550 and the K750.

Presented at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, both the K550 and the K750 join the H600 in what could turn into an impressive electric vehicle lineup for the fledgling HKG brand. The two-row, five-seater K550, in particular, is presented as a five-seat crossover concept powered by an electric powertrain that itself is being developed by HKG. The same goes for the much larger K750, which rides taller and longer than its counterpart, thanks in part to having three rows of seating that can accommodate up to seven people. Both models aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon, but like the H600, there appears to be some optimism coming from both Pininfarina and HKG that we’ll end up seeing these models hit the road in production guise soon.

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Looks awesome, but the persisting question of how far it will go remains

Pininfarina Isn't Messing Around, Unveils Two More Concept Models With HKG Exterior
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Pininfarina Isn't Messing Around, Unveils Two More Concept Models With HKG Exterior
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Would you believe that it only took Mahindra $28 million to purchase Pininfarina back in 2015? Hard as that is to believe, what’s even more surprising is that Mahindra actually let its acquisition spread its wings with partnerships like the one it currently has with Hybrid Kinetic Group. Now I’m not going to get too excited about the possibilities of this partnership; History has a long track record of turning promising collaborations into disappointment.

I am curious though about how Pininfarina and HKG will be able to evolve their collaboration into something more meaningful than these concepts. Don’t get me wrong, the H600, K550, and K750 all look impressive. That’s hardly a surprise considering this is Pininfarina we’re talking about. But the other aspects of these vehicles are the ones that I’m more curious about, most notably that conceptual electric powertrain that HKG is developing.

That part I’m still holding out judgment on, largely because I want to wait and see how this technology progresses past the usual bluster of hopes and dreams. I’d rather see something tangible that HKG can present that’s not only capable of living up to the performance qualities that the companies promising, but is also feasible enough to warrant production in mass quantities in the event these cars make it into production.

For now, all we know is that the powertrain is far from a done deal and that’s not even taking into account the supplemental micro-turbine that HKG is touting as a range-extending power generator. That’s another aspect of the concept that’s going to be important to keep an eye on since the company is promising that it’s capable of boosting energy recovery rates by as much as 30 percent while also extending range by 620 miles.

All these factors will come into play if I am to be convinced that these concept vehicles will be have promising futures as production models. Both Pininfarina and HKG appear to be confident that the concepts will end up there since the two do have a €65-million ($67 million), 46-month deal that calls for the Italian design house to handle their development.

For now, it’s enough for me to look at these concept vehicles and remain impressed with Pininfarina’s ability to make them. It’s a point of pride for the company to remain at the top of its game no matter who owns it and it’s nice to see that the company remains as good as it has always been.

2017 Pininfarina H600
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Read our full review on the Pininfarina H600 here.

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