Pininfarina concept uses 'Liquid' Packaging

  • 07-Aug-2008 04:22 EDT

The Pininfarina Sintesi packages a hydrogen fuel-cell power system with onboard reformer and radical design.

Italian design house Pininfarina has developed the Sintesi concept sports car constructed around a hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain. The company describes the design approach as “Liquid” Packaging. Instead of designing a shape to cover the mechanical elements of the car, this approach is said to give shape to the mechanical elements packaged around the passengers. As a result, Pininfarina claims that weight distribution is improved and the center of gravity lowered.

Pininfarina worked closely with U.S./Italian-based Nuvera, which supplied its Quadrivium fuel-cell system for the Sintesi. This system combines Nuvera’s STAR onboard hydrogen-generation system with its Andromeda fuel cells and in-wheel power modules. The STAR system uses gasoline to fuel the reformer system to yield hydrogen.

The distributed drive system has contributed to the Sintesi’s low aerodynamic drag Cd figure of 0.27. The Sintesi is 4794 mm (188.7 in) long, 1988 mm (78.3 in) wide, and 1298 mm (51.1 in) tall. The frontal area of 2.11 m² (22.7 ft²) contributes to low drag along with the aerodynamic underbody and what Pininfarina terms the “coda tronca” cut-off design of the rear.

Pininfarina has also worked in partnership with Pi Shurlok for the Sintesi’s electronic architecture. This setup allows the power delivery to each wheel to be controlled according to driving conditions.

The powertrain offers both normal and sport modes. In either mode, the maximum fuel-cell input power per wheel is given as 20 kW, while the battery boost input power per wheel is quoted as 10 kW in normal mode and 20 kW in sport mode. Pininfarina quotes a maximum power output per wheel of 24 kW in normal mode and 32 kW in sport mode, assuming 20% conversion losses. Peak motor torque per wheel is quoted as 750 N·m (553 lb·ft).

The Sintesi also incorporates advanced communications technologies via the Reicom Clancast radio system. This incorporates the car in a system of interactive communication, drawing information from other vehicles, roadside data such as traffic lights and signs, the Internet, and the onboard cameras and radar of the Sintesi.

Information on traffic and road conditions is supplied to the driver via the instrument panel, while the information gathered would be transmitted to other surrounding vehicles and roadside communications networks.

The vertical opening four-door bodywork is the product of Pininfarina’s Design Department under 33-year-old Director Lowie Vermeersch. Others involved in the project include Vice Directors Guglielmo Cartia and Fabrizio Valentini, with Chief Designers Jason Castriota, Giovanni Piccardo, Goran Popovic, and Giuseppe Randazzo.

The rear lights incorporate not only Osram LED arrays but also cameras and radar sensors.

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